Gov. Mitt Romney named his transportation secretary, Daniel Grabauskas, to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Board Wednesday, Aug. 18.
Grabauskas will replace Christy Mihos, an outspoken advocate for MetroWest toll payers, whose term expired earlier this summer.
“He will be a voice of change at the Turnpike Authority and help us to begin the process of creating a more efficient transportation system for the people of Massachusetts,” Romney said in a statement.
Grabauskas’ appointment to the board accelerates the merging of two formerly separate agencies, the Turnpike Authority and the state Highway Department. He will become chairman of the turnpike board in July 2007.
Romney has made elimination of the Turnpike Authority a major goal, promising that consolidation of the agencies would increase efficiency and save money.
Meanwhile, many MetroWest lawmakers will sorely miss Mihos’ presence on the board. Mihos not only voted to delay a controversial toll hike, he also fought in vain to eliminate all tolls west of Massachusetts Highway 128.
“He clearly was a strong and effective advocate for toll payers, and we don’t have enough of those,” state Sen. David Magnani, D-Framingham, told the MetroWest Daily News.
Mihos said he is confident Grabauskas will “look very hard” at toll relief for turnpike drivers.
“I think I fought the good fight and I believe Dan will pick up that fight when I’m gone,” he added.