Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Federal Funding Pulled for 'Bridge to Nowhere' - But Massachusetts Taxpayers May Still Pay

The Boston Globe’s Noah Bierman is reporting that the Patrick Administration has removed the $9 million Foxborough footbridge planned for Route 1 from its list of projects to be paid for using federal stimulus funding – the same footbridge that is being built to connect two parking lots owned by multi-billionaire Robert Kraft, who also owns the New England Patriots.

Has Governor Patrick finally come to his senses and decided that this “corporate welfare” project doesn’t constitute the best use of taxpayer dollars? Well, not exactly.

The Globe reported over the weekend that the project wouldn’t be getting federal stimulus money because it won’t be able to meet the designated “shovel-ready” deadline to qualify for the funding. But a follow-up story in today's Globe reveals that federal highway officials had expressed concerns about including the controversial footbridge on the state's list of federal stimulus projects, which also prompted inquiries from the U.S. Inspector General's office in Washington.

That doesn’t mean the Patrick Administration has given up on the project; on the contrary, the Globe is reporting that the Administration “still supports finding other public money for the project.” That’s good news for Kraft – who recently contributed, along with his wife, a total of $12,000 to Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, and the state Democratic Party – but bad news for the state’s taxpayers, who will be stuck picking up the tab, one way or another.