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Wording for state bonds to change

Governor Mitt Romney promised yesterday to change the language in the state's bond prospectuses, following a report in the Globe that previous documents submitted by the state had overstated his role in the inspection of the Big Dig tunnels.

``We just learned about it yesterday," Romney said.

The Globe reported yesterday that, pushed by Romney's administration, Massachusetts had assured bond holders that Romney's transportation officials were conducting ``ongoing" safety examinations of the Big Dig tunnels. Other documents said Romney had ordered his agency to ``conduct an examination of the safety of the tunnel elements."

In reality, their only review was completed a year ago and was limited to a tunnel in the Interstate 93 section. In public statements, Romney had frequently complained that he had been shut out from the project and had no control of the Big Dig's inspections and other issues.

``It was a miscommunication between two departments in the administration, and we'll take it out of the prospectuses going forward," Romney said yesterday.

Disclosure statements in a bond prospectus provide information for potential investors to evaluate the risks in buying bonds.

The Legislature granted Romney the authority to oversee Big Dig inspections shortly after a Jamaica Plain woman, Milena Del Valle, was killed in the ceiling collapse on July 10. Before the Legislature acted, he said that he did not have authorization to order a ``stem to stern" review.

Frank Phillips of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Russell Nichols can be reached at

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