Saturday, 2:15 PM
Former Big Dig official appointed to top transportation post
By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff
Governor Deval Patrick appointed James Aloisi Jr. as his transportation secretary this afternoon, choosing a well-connected lobbyist and a key player in the tumultuous history of the Big Dig.
"Jim brings a deep understanding of the challenges we face in reforming our transportation network," Patrick said in a press release. "He will be a skilled and energetic advocate for our reform agenda.”
The state’s faltering transportation system has risen to the top of Patrick’s agenda as the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and the MBTA struggle under increasing levels of debt -- billions of it connected with the $15 billion Big Dig. Proposals to as much as double tolls have provoked furious statewide debate.
Aloisi is intimately familiar with the problems. He served on an influential panel that recommended solutions, including higher gas taxes, last year. He also knows the ins and outs of the Legislature. But he has been a controversial choice, in part because he wrote the law that saddled the turnpike authority with the Big Dig’s debt and later made money representing the authority as outside counsel.
Patrick made the appointment on a Friday afternoon, typically a low-profile news time. Today was particularly low-profile as many workers stayed home to avoid the snowstorm.