At a legislative committee hearing held earlier this week, Dana Levenson, chief financial officer for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, delivered the sobering tally of the full cost of the project that buried Interstate 93 through downtown Boston. With the total cost of the project and associated public transit improvements exceeding $24 billion, with interest, the state still owes $9.3 billion in principal and interest on the Big Dig and the completed transit commitments, reports Moskowitz.
The project, and the money still owed, continues to have a significant impact on Massachusetts's finances, "limiting the state's ability to pay for other transportation infrastructure projects and even day-to-day highway and transit operation by gobbling up so much money for debt," writes Moskowitz.
While officials were quick to praise the overall successes of the project, its notoriously spiraling costs continue to plague the state. "It is extremely important that we understand the effect that the Big Dig debt service has on overall transportation spending in Massachusetts," said Representative David P. Linsky, committee chairman and a Natick Democrat. "We're paying over $100 million a year in Big Dig debt service, and that is obviously $100 million that we can't spend on other transportation needs."