The Blogiston Post

Politics, money, and war.

Saturday, April 19

digging out Iraq

Contracts for reconstruction in Iraq are primarily being handled by the USAID. The US Agency for International Development is headed by Andrew Nastios. Those of you from the Massachusetts area may recognize his name as the former head of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority during the turbulent years of 2000 to 2001. The MTA oversees the Big Dig construction project connecting and submerging central transportation arteries thru Boston. The Big Dig contractor is Bechtel in partnership with Parsons & Brinckerhoff. Bechtel sits in the drivers seat. Been a bit of criticism of Bechtel lately. Current Governor Romney has even threatened an independent review and from a republican governor no less. More likely it will prove to be a pat a on the back, job well done affair.

Ironically, as a legislator, Natsios was opposed to the Big Dig and voted against it twice. Once appointed Turnpike Chairman, Natsios attempted to present realistic over run numbers of $1.4 billion dollars. Unfortunately, $3.2 billion was the reality. The Big Dig is now at least $7 billion dollars over budget.

Over in the Big Dig offices, is the daughter of Bechtel board member and Defense Policy Board member George Shultz. Margaret is Bechtel's Big Dig human resources manager. And you wondered how bpost would connect Iraq, Boston, Bechtel, and the Defense Policy Advisory Board all together. It's not hard really. There are so many opportunities we have to pick and choose.

Now Andrew Natsios is in charge of handing out contracts for reconstruction projects in Iraq as head of the USAID. One would think with Natsios's hands on experience with Bechtel he might have reservations. Apparently not. So Bechtel will soon be $680 million dollars richer as they dig in and rebuild Iraq. By Boston standards, the final cost should run to $1,289 million, give or take a few additional million.


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