Going on 20: The Big Dig Disaster Continues

Remember Boston’s “Big Dig?” If not, here’s a brief recap: It’s the highway project/death trap originally budgeted for $2.6 billion that ended up costing taxpayers nearly $15 billion–giving it the honor of “Most Expensive Public Works Project in U.S. History” (and let’s hope it stays that way). It took more than a decade-and-a-half to complete, and apparently it doesn’t do anything to help reduce traffic congestion.

On top of all this, a former Massachusetts attorney general has joined a class action lawsuit filed in response to the Turnpike Authority’s illegal practice of diverting turnpike tolls to fund the Big Dig construction. The only problem is that former Attorney General L. Scott Harshbarger (D) approved the state’s siphoning plan while he was in office. From the Boston Herald:

“You make the calls as you see them at the time, but you’re not wedded to them 11 years later,” Harshbarger said.

He was attorney general from 1991 to 1999. He was later president of Common Cause, a nonprofit government watchdog group. Along with attorney Jan Schlichtmann of “A Civil Action” fame, he is suing to recover up to $450 million in tolls they say was collected illegally to fund the Big Dig. About 1,700 Bay State residents have signed on to the class-action suit. But Harshbarger’s role has caught the attention of Beacon Hill lawmakers.

“I find it ironic that the former attorney general is leading the cause when it came down under his watch,” said Sen. Steven Baddour (D-Methuen), who heads the Senate Transportation Committee.