On his credibility…
I was a staffer, OK?
I was one of about 50 people.
My approval meant nothing.
Charlie Baker, as secretary of Administration and Finance, was Weld’s most influential financial adviser on the Big Dig.
He wasn’t just “one of 50 people” who had something to do with the project, as he suggested not long ago. He was steeped in it.
Baker was the chief architect of a financing plan to sustain the project during its peak construction years
Baker’s role in Big Dig financing process was anything but ‘small’
You failed to tell the truth when you told me that you were “one of about 50 people” making financing decisions on the Big Dig. You were one of the most important people.
The problem with these untruths … voters aren’t sure whether to believe you.
On his Big Dig Financing Scheme…
He also said the plan was responsible, effective, and based on good-faith assurances by other government officials that the Big Dig would be built on time and on budget.
Baker maintained that using the money for the Big Dig would not compromise road and bridge work elsewhere in the state
The $3 billion plan depended almost exclusively on heavy borrowing and modest toll increases, deferring the toughest decisions on tolling and taxes to future leaders. It wasn’t designed to deal with the massive cost overruns that would eventually plague the project, despite multiple warnings at the time that the price tag would likely grow.
The administration kept denying the obvious… If you keep spending more on the Central Artery, you’re going to have less to spend on state highways. I learned that in second grade. If you’ve got a dollar, you can only spend it once.
The financing plan structured by Baker left no cushion for future cost overruns in the project, even though, at the time, fiscal watchdogs said overruns were probable…The federal Government Accounting Office warned in 1997 and again in 1998 that Baker’s borrowing plan could fall hundreds of millions of dollars short
Taxpayers are still paying that tab.
Baker’s borrowing plan…called for selling up to $1.5 billion in Grant Anticipation Notes, known as GANs, which allowed the government to borrow money and pay back the principal using future federal highway grants to the state. The interest – an estimated $550 million over 18 years, which has since ballooned to an estimated $840 million – would be picked up by taxpayers.