The Road to Hell: The Corruption and Malfeasance of Boston's "Big Dig"

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The cost of Boston’s “Big Dig” has ballooned to over $15 billion. In September 1983, this 7.5 mile highway project was originally proposed with a completion date of 1995 and for a cost of $2.2 billion. In 1980, a Special Commission Concerning State and County Buildings (know as the “Ward Commission”) filed a final report on corruption in the award of state and county construction projects in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and found that: 1) Corruption was a way of life in Massachusetts; 2) Sub-standard construction was the norm; and 3) Political influence, not professional performance, was the prime criterion for doing business in the Commonwealth. While some of the Ward Commission’s recommendations were enacted into law, many important recommendations, especially the elimination of the filed sub-bid system, were not enacted. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how the failure of Massachusetts governmental officials to implement the recommendations of the Ward Commission and their promotion of a culture of malfeasance and political corruption has resulted in the mostly costly and sub-standard public works project in the history of the United States


Keywords: "Big Dig", Political Corruption, Corruption, Malfeasance, White-Collar Crime, Official Deviance
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: , , , , The Road to Hell


Dr. Michael W. Smith

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
Malden, MA, USA

Dr. Michael W. Smith is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hamphsire, USA. He teaches course in Race & Ethnic Relations, Law & Society, Criminology, and the Sociology of Terrorism and Genocide. Since 1993, Dr. Smith has practiced civil rights and criminal defense law. He is co-authoring a book on Wrongful Convictions.

Ref: I08P0931