| Home | About Us | Login/Register | Email News Tips |

A liberal dose of news, national and local politics, commentary, opinions and common sense conversation…

John Kerry to Put Hold on Bush Pick for Federal Highway Administration

by Pamela Leavey

John Kerry said today that he will prevent the former head of Boston’s $14.6 billion Big Dig, Richard Capka, from becoming head of the Federal Highway Administration. Capka, was nominated earlier this month by Bush for the top highway job. He was chief executive officer of Boston Big Dig from January 2001 to June 2002 until his position was terminated.

“I’m afraid Richard Capka could be the Brownie of highways,” Kerry said.

Though costs rose slightly during his 1 1/2-year tenure, Capka was mostly criticized for his failure to handle the political controversies surrounding the massive project. For example, he approved lucrative severance packages for several Big Dig lawyers.

Sen. Kerry, D-Mass., said he will place a hold on Capka’s nomination, which would prevent the Senate from considering his nomination.

“Why on earth would he get a promotion?” Kerry said. “It looks like the administration is going to repeat a stunning pattern of rewarding people who screw up.”

Matthew Amorello, chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which manages the still-to-be-completed Big Dig, said Capka had to deal with a difficult political climate in the state. A toll increase to pay for the Big Dig “was dominating public debate here,” Amorello said.

Kerry remembers the situation differently.

“When Capka oversaw Boston’s Big Dig, he was fired for massive cost overruns and for giving lucrative severance packages of six months’ salary to a bunch of lawyers,” Kerry said.

The price tag for the Big Dig was believed to be $14 billion when Capka took over, $14.6 billion by the time he left. Capka, is a retired brigadier general with the Army Corps of Engineers, he became the acting administrator of FHA in August.

14 Responses to “John Kerry to Put Hold on Bush Pick for Federal Highway Administration”

  1. Hey, at least he knows how to run a project into the ground on a large scale.

  2. rMatey

    No kidding huh! What a mess the Big Dig turned out to be and what a shame.

  3. You guys hit the nail right on the head! Capka knows how to blow hundreds of millions of dollars and screw up a project.

    Perhaps Capka could be our next ambassador to Iraq. He sounds perfect for the job!

  4. I wish John Kerry would get his facts straight before he slings mud at a decorated army veteran who served this country for 29-years. Rick Capka is a West Point graduate who rose to the rank of Brigadier General during his tenure. He came on board at the MTA over a decade into the Big Dig to try and help the project get on track. Unfortunately, politics got in the way of allowing this competent professional engineer and leader from getting anywhere.

    I don’t label myself red or blue….so please don’t view this as another republican trying to stand up for the Bush Administration. I do not agree with a majority of the policy decisions that have been made under this administration. The selection of Rick Capka is one of the few smart things that they have done lately.

    I very disappointed in Kerry and am simply fed up with the bipartisan grandstanding that plaques this country.

  5. gman Says: March 19th, 2006 at 1:22 pm

    John Kerry knows who Capka is and what he’s done. He’s not slinging mud.

  6. Pamela,

    John Kerry may “know who Capka is,” but I would argue that Kerry is simply grandstanding to make the Bush administration’s selection of Rick Capka look bad. Capka has performed superbly as the FHWA’s deputy adminstrator and has actually been filling the adminstrator position since July 2005.

    Ignorant statements like “Capka knows how to blow hundreds of millions of dollars and screw up a project” from BlueWashington above continue to spread ignorance and misunderstanding throughout the country.

  7. gman

    Sorry but Capka was fired from the Big Dig, for massive overspending. The Big Dig has been a big nightmare for Bostonians. Capka didn’t help that nightmare any he contributed to it. Sure Capka might be performing “superbly” in the eyes of republicans but he’s obviously not in the eyes of democrats. Kerry doesn’t have to argue to make the selection look bad, it’s a bad selection.

  8. Pamela,

    Please do your homework first before you make statements like “sure Capka might be performing “superbly” in the eyes of republicans but he’s obviously not in the eyes of democrats.” Mr. Capka’s current boss, Secretary Norman Mineta (US DOT), is a DEMOCRAT. In fact, he is the only Democrat in Bush’s cabinet. Why don’t you go ask Secretary Mineta how Mr. Capka is doing. I think you may find a different story than the ‘lone’ Kerry has provided.

    check out this website for more education on the facts – http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Inauguration/story?id=122140

  9. gman

    The people of Boston aren’t too thrilled with Capka. I am well aware what Mineta thinks of Capka and I’m also aware that the meme you dropped here was a repub talking point. It’s not impressive to me that Mineta is the lone Dem in Bush’s cabinet – it’s sad.

    In my opinion there’s merit in this statement from Kerry: “When Capka oversaw Boston’s Big Dig, he was fired for massive cost overruns and for giving lucrative severance packages of six months’ salary to a bunch of lawyers”

    This kind of crap happens too often in the Bush administration and is the type of stuff that needs to be stopped.

  10. Pamela,

    I will end my discussion with this. I believe that Mr. Capka has enough support, both Democrat and Republican, to overcome the Kerry grandstanding. We’ll just have to wait and see!

    Best of luck to you.

  11. gman

    Call it what you like. Kerry’s his own man, with his own reaosns for opposing Capka. By the by it’s always nice to know that the G-Men are reading our blog. 😉

  12. Pamela,

    Just to clarify one more thing….’gman’ is simply a nickname and unfortunately gives the impression that I am on the ‘other team.’ I am, in fact, a nonpartisan individual who is defending a competent nonpartisan career civil servant who has worked harder throughout his career than most to make this country a better place. Comparing Mr. Capka to “Brownie” is absolutely ludicrous and, in my opinion, borderline slander.

    If this was a Republican senator taking opposition to Mr. Capka I would be arguing against him/her as well.

    best regards.

  13. Capka’s credentials

    Keep those facts straight, John.

  14. Leroy

    It’s very possible Kerry has facts that the Globe doesn’t. Wouldn’t be the first time.