A former spokesman for the Big Dig is driving across the country in a rusty, dilapidated clunker to talk to state and municipal leaders about the United States' crumbling and outdated infrastructure.
Dan McNichol, the best-selling author of "The Big Dig," will take a 1949 Hudson named Mrs. Martin on the six-month drive, dubbed "Dire States: The Drive to Revive America’s Ailing Infrastructure."
"I'm going out there to say we need to clean up our mess. It's everything we depend on; roads, bridges, drinking water, school houses, parks, hazardous waste sites, airports, dams," said McNichol, adding that investment is vital to the solution. "It's a simple message: Stop being cheap. Stop being on the lookout for a free lunch, and just own it."
The Hudson is similar to the one used in the film, "Driving Miss Daisy"
Despite its age, the car only has 35,000 miles on it. McNichol got it for $2,500
The federal Department of Transportation announced Thursday that the government will make available about $475 million in discretionary grants for transportation projects in 37 states, but the news did little to ease McNichol's concern.
"$475 million is spit in a bucket when it comes to upping our infrastructure game," he said. "In any other crisis this sum would be encouraging. In rebuilding America, billions — if not trillions — in funding would be real news."