- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

BOSTON (AP) - The architect who co-designed the city’s striking cable-stayed Zakim Bridge has given the state $15,000 to reilluminate its trademark blue lights _ at least in the short term.

Miguel Rosales of the Boston firm Rosales + Partners said Monday he was dismayed Massachusetts Turnpike Director Alan LeBovidge had the lights turned off last week to save the $5,000 monthly lighting bill.

Rosales says turning off the lights not only darkens the bridge and its fanned cables, but also accentuates the harsh orange street lights on the city’s main northerly approach.

“I think it creates a bad impression,” Rosales said. “The lights on the roadway become dominant and the bridge kind of disappears; it should be the other way around. The bridge should be the fixture.”

The turnpike is facing a budget deficit and $2.2 billion in long-term debts. It’s considering doubling some tolls to cover the costs.

At the same time, it has made a series of patronage hires, including one $122,000 official whose responsibility was to have been removing tolls on the Turnpike in central and western Massachusetts. Gov. Deval Patrick has since given up on that project.

Eliminating the engineer’s salary would free up enough money to keep the lights on for two years.

Patrick said, “I hate it,” when asked about extinguishing the lights. He added: “At this point, everything is real. Using fewer paper clips is real. We are in extreme circumstances and we’re going to have to do everything we can. And I’m going to have to trust our agency leadership to take the steps that they can to try to cut costs.”

Rosales’s donation would light the bridge for three months. He said he hopes others will follow his example and make donations until the turnpike has stabilized financially.

Transportation Secretary James Aloisi called Rosales after a courier dropped off the check, the architect said. He is meeting with Rosales on Tuesday.

An Aloisi spokesman had no comment.

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