Sunday, February 04, 2007

Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr. Tunnel

Dedicated in June 2006 I drove through the tunnel two weeks ago while visiting Boston.
Although he never lived to see the project's completion, O'Neill -- who retired in 1987 and died in 1994 -- was instrumental at its earliest stages, battling with a reluctant Reagan Administration leery of its daunting price tag -- even when it started at just $2.6 billion.
In the end the Big Dig would cost more than $14.6 billion, transform the face of downtown Boston, replace the city's old elevated highway and unclog one of the most notorious bottlenecks in the country's interstate highway system.
"Tip helped to keep it going when he was in Congress and perhaps more significantly when he wasn't," Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry said. "His memory and his lasting commitment was strong enough to help it along anyway."
The dedication ceremony gave O'Neill's friends and fans a chance to swap stories and pay tribute to a man who seemed to embody a lost political era. O'Neill famously demurred from engaging in hardball politics after hours, preferring instead to building alliances with friends, and sometimes foes.

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