The Massachusetts Highway Department could soon see the equivalent of a 5% boost in its construction budget -- without a single new toll or tax increase. Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed regulations that would greatly scale back the expensive tradition of posting a uniformed police detail at every road construction site, a practice that critics have long derided as a waste of taxpayers' money. The new regulations would allow civilian flaggers on lower-speed roadways, setting up a confrontation with the state's powerful police union.

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