quarta-feira, 10 de setembro de 2008

Grandes Projetos Urbanos: Boston Bid Dig

HAINES Wendy, “Boston’s Big Dig Project: A Cautionary Tale”. Bridgewater Review June 2008


In the 1980s and 1990s, public officials were all too willing to cede responsibility for managing public projects to private ventures. Particularly as we moved into the 1990s—with the cry for government reform, “steering not rowing,” outsourcing, and privatization — state agencies were not then and probably never were equipped to deal with a project like the Big Dig without significant reliance on private sector expertise. Massachusetts officials operated under the delusion that if they fostered a collaborative and harmonious relationship with B/PB, all would be well. Surely, B/PB would not risk its international reputation with substandard performance on Boston’s megaproject. one need only walk along the greenway that’s growing where once the elevated Central Artery cast its shadow to appreciate the Big Dig’s contribution to the beauty of downtown Boston. The Zakim Bridge lights up the night and the Ted Williams Tunnel eases our way to logan Airport. But at what cost do we enjoy these marvels? For many years to come, the Big Dig’s $15 billion price tag will siphon state and federal funds from roadways and bridges sadly in need of repair and replacement.

The Big Dig is, indeed, a cautionary tale. I hope it serves as a reminder to all of us that when we cede responsibility to private entities without ensuring adequate oversight, we also mortgage our grandchildren’s future. our public officials—elected and appointed—have a stewardship responsibility to safeguard public resources. In the case of the Big Dig, some of our stewards fell far short of the mark. In BSC’s Master of Public Administration program, I have the opportunity to work with my colleagues in the Department of Political Science to help ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past as we move forward. I want to share the concluding words from my dissertation. It seems a fitting end to this article: We ask an extraordinary amount of our public leaders and managers. The visions of others, inherited through administrative changes and the vicissitudes of public life, may place dedicated public servants in the position of overseeing undertakings for which they have neither sufficient organizational strength nor long-term institutional support. And yet they persevere. As we scrutinize, analyze, dissect, compare and contrast their efforts, we should acknowledge the debt of gratitude we owe to those dedicated professionals who work for us every day. They receive too little appreciation for their deeds. We owe them—and the public they serve—our respect and the best thoughtful attention academia has to offer.