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Bridge alternatives? Former MassDOT head says rail, ferries

Kevin Sullivan served as Massachusetts secretary of transportation, 1999-2002.
Kevin Sullivan served as Massachusetts secretary of transportation, 1999-2002.

"Keep your options open," says Kevin Sullivan, former Massachusetts secretary of transportation.

BOURNE—Without the promise of $4 billion in federal money, what's to be done about replacing the aging Bourne and Sagamore bridges?

The state's former transportation leader suggests commuter rail and ferry service as options.

"If people are worried about climate change, you've got to look at rail as an alternative," Kevin Sullivan, transportation secretary from 1999 to 2002, told CAI's Morning Edition.

"At one point there was heavy lobbying against my office to rip up the rail tracks," he said. "We ended up leaving the right-of-way for rail, to the chagrin of some. We always anticipated that there would need to be another mode of travel to the Cape other than automobile."

As secretary, Sullivan in 2000 appointed the now-defunct Cape Cod Transit Task Force. Its goal was to reduce dependency on cars. Sullivan's office also built the transportation center in Hyannis, developed the Shining Sea Bikeway, and initially studied eliminating the Sagamore rotary. It was removed in 2006 under then-Gov. Mitt Romney.

The COVID pandemic has taught state planners to approach public projects differently, Sullivan said.

"People who take the long view of the Cape always advocated to me: keep your options open."

Patrick Flanary is a dad, journalist, and host of Morning Edition.