STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - MORNING EDITION - WEDNESDAY, AUG. 6, 2014

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

WITH ELECTRONIC TOLLING, MASSDOT SEES UPTICK IN EZ PASS INTEREST

All electronic tolling on the Tobin Bridge appears to have "prompted renewed interest among the public" for EZ Pass transponders, according to MassDOT spokeswoman Cyndi Roy Gonzalez. She said 25,000 transponders have been distributed within the last two weeks, a jump up from the weekly average of 3,857 transponders. For those who have transponders, the toll is automatically deducted when they travel over the Tobin. Under the new system transportation officials hope to spread statewide, drivers without the devices will be identified by their license plate and be sent a bill in the mail. On Tuesday, Gonzalez said the state has issued 12,000 "Pay by Plate" invoices since the system went live in mid-July, and several hundred of those have been paid. - A. Metzger/SHNS

PATRICK THINKS HE MET GENERAL KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN

Gov. Deval Patrick said he is "pretty sure" he met the late Major General Harold Greene, who reportedly worked for a time at Natick Soldier Systems Center. "Obviously our hearts go out to his family," Patrick said after a bill signing Wednesday. According to news reports, Greene became the highest ranking coalition member killed in the Afghanistan war when an Afghan soldier shot him at a training academy. "I'm pretty sure I have met him," Patrick said. - A.


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Metzger/SHNS

CAPE WIND HIRES NEW JERSEY, WASHINGTON CONTRACTORS

Construction firms from New Jersey and Seattle, Washington have signed on to build Cape Wind, a Nantucket Sound project that aims to be the first offshore wind development in the nation, the energy developer announced Tuesday. Cape Wind is still trying to put together financing for the project that has gone through roughly 10 years of permitting, and hopes to begin installing a foundation in the spring of 2015, said spokesman Mark Rodgers. "We've made a lot of progress," said Rodgers, who said the company has raised about $1.5 billion. Weeks Marine, of Cranford, N.J., and Manson Construction Co., of Seattle, have joined into the joint venture of Weeks/Mason and the Boston & New England Maritime Trades Council, AFL-CIO, will provide skilled workers for the project, according to the announcement. Fall River Electrical Associates will be a subcontractor for the newly selected lead construction contractor, which also goes by WMJV. Weeks Marine Vice President Rick Palmer is the project director for WMJV. Both companies that make up the joint venture date back to the early part of the 20th century. The New Jersey company began plans in January 2011 for the R.D. MacDonald, a 260-foot-long jack-up barge whose hull was launched in Jacksonville, Fla. in 2012, and it will be outfitted with a crane in Houma, La. next year, becoming the first special purpose offshore wind installation vessel in the country, according to Cape Wind. The R.D. MacDonald will be able to transport three wind turbines at one time, Cape Wind said. The project plans to build 130 wind turbines on Horseshoe Shoal between Nantucket and Cape Cod. - A. Metzger/SHNS