Tip would be embarrassed

There's news today that the federal transportation bill that passed the House of Representatives yesterday named the northbound and southbound lanes of the Route 93 tunnel through Boston after the late local political legend and former House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill. What a disgrace to the name of a great politician, and the man who's legacy can claim partial credit for the project.

I can't find an online news source to link to, but I heard it on both television and radio. I was surprised to think that Congress believed this was a good idea until I realized that there probably aren't too many congressmen in Washington who remember Tip very well to object.

I have written here in the past that the new tunnel is a marvel of design and has improved traffic significantly in Boston, even before the project is completed. However, I believe if Tip were alive today he would be embarrassed by the seven-fold cost increases, the shoddy construction and the continued lengthening of the completion date. I bet he wouldn't even want to be associated with the project at all, not to mention have part of it named after him.

That said, I didn't like the Liberty Tunnel name either. Does the tunnel even need a name? I suppose. Everything has a name. After all, it replaced the Fitzgerald Expressway, not to be confused with the Southeast Expressway, which exists today as living oxymoron. I call the tunnel the Underground Car Wash, but I doubt that would have been approved. Anyone care to suggest a name or share what you call it?

In the end, the leaky tunnel will have a plaque affixed to it, and maybe even a nice sign, that tells drivers it is named for a great man, a great politician and a great booster of Boston on the national scene. And hopefully by then it won't be an embarrassment to Tip or to Boston.


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