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Massachusetts Pulls Funding For Gillette Stadium Footbridge

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's administration is removing a planned $9M footbridge next to Gillette Stadium "off its list of federally funded stimulus projects, but still supports finding other public money for the project," according to Noah Bierman of the BOSTON GLOBE. The state pulled the plug on funding for the bridge, as well as two other projects, because Massachusetts transportation officials "worried they would not be 'shovel ready' by the end of February, a federal requirement for stimulus projects." The bridge had "threatened to become a political issue" for Patrick, who is up for re-election next year, because it "connects two private parking lots owned" by Patriots Owner Bob Kraft. Critics questioned why the state was "dedicating money to a private venture and worried it would have little public benefit on days there were no events at the stadium." The bridge, which was among a "small group of stimulus projects specifically targeted to benefit private development," now will "probably have to depend on a separate pot of state economic development money" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/5). In Boston, Jay Fitzgerald wrote Patrick's willingness to use funds for the footbridge "shows the extent the governor will go for a big donor and pal" like Kraft. Both Kraft and his wife, Myra, "maxed out on contributions" to Patrick's campaign committee prior to a vote last month that initially led to funding for the footbridge construction (BOSTON HERALD, 12/5).

YOU CAN GO YOUR OWN WAY: The BOSTON GLOBE's Charles Pierce in an open letter to Kraft wrote, "You should build your own footbridge so people can walk from your stadium to parking lots across the road, and you shouldn’t be getting help from Deval Patrick or any federal stimulus money to do it" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/6). Meanwhile, in Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes, “What a week for Bob Kraft. His team got undressed on 'Monday Night Football,' his $9 million federally funded bridge deal was shelved Friday, and yesterday the Patriots blew a 14-0 lead and dropped a 22-21 decision to the not-very-good Miami Dolphins. Ouch” (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/7).

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