January 31

Dukakis lukewarm on having his name on Boston’s South Station

The former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate says he’s ‘not in favor’ of a bill to rename the rail hub the Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center.

The Associated Press

BOSTON — A move is on in Massachusetts to rename Boston’s South Station in honor of former governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, but Dukakis himself isn’t so keen on the idea.

Dukakis, 80, said that while flattered, he was never asked about the honor and is not so sure he wants it.

“Boy, when they start naming things for you, you know you’re on your way out,” he told the Boston Herald from his home in Los Angeles, where he spends the winter. He is also a professor of public policy at Northeastern University.

“This opens up a whole set of problems. I am not in favor of this,” the Democrat, who lost the 1988 presidential election to Republican George H.W. Bush, added later.

The state House of Representatives this week voted to rename the rail hub the Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center at South Station. The measure was tucked into a $12 billion transportation bond bill, and is being pushed by Dukakis’ Republican successor, William Weld, as well as some former aides.

It still needs approval in the state Senate and must be signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick.

The station opened in 1898 and underwent a complete overhaul in the 1980s while Dukakis, a Democrat, was governor.

Dukakis is a longtime advocate of public transportation who took the subway to work from his Brookline home to the Statehouse while governor.

He says if the state wants to name something for him, he would rather it be the still unbuilt rail link between South Station and North Station, something he advocated for while governor, yet remains a pipe dream.

“If you build it, you could take 60,000 cars off the road,” he said.

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