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Continued: Official who will oversee work was let go in Boston

Hecox said Capka is committed to cutting any possible red tape to expedite the bridge reconstruction. "We're not going to speed it along any faster than we are allowed to, but it's the kind of thing that we're just not willing to let the process drag on," Hecox said.

In July 2006, four years after Capka lost his job at the Turnpike Authority, 26 tons of concrete and steel fell from the roof of one of the Big Dig's tunnels, killing a 38-year-old woman. As federal highway administrator, Capka became involved in the investigation of the fatal accident.

Once again, Kerry intervened. He said Capka's involvement potentially jeopardized the impartiality of the investigation. Capka bowed to the pressure and recused himself from the probe.

"It may be a while before the people of Massachusetts feel complete confidence about their safety again, but the wrong way to start rebuilding their trust is not to have the same officials investigate the failure as those who may have helped create the problem in the first place," Kerry said last year in a news release.

Hecox said Capka recused himself from the investigation "because it was the right thing to do," not because Kerry made the request.

"Presidential campaigns will make some people say just about anything," Hecox said.

pmcenroe@startribune.com • 612-673-1745 tonyk@startribune.com • 612-590-5973

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