This report is based on this Office's initial review of Central Artery/Tunnel (CA/T) Project (commonly known as the Big Dig) internal documents and internal Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) documents relating to the $1.4 billion Big Dig cost overrun announced by Big Dig officials in February 2000. In October 2000, Big Dig officials announced a revised estimate for the overrun of $2.5 billion.1 Staff from this Office reviewed more than 100,000 pages of documents related to the period 1994 to the present and internal FHWA documents related to a detailed budget review conducted in 1995 by FHWA officials. The comments and conclusions contained in this report are the result of a financial review of documents conducted by this Office. The completion of our review has been hindered because Big Dig officials have withheld documents under a claim of attorney-client privilege. In addition, public data and documents have reportedly been destroyed and other public documents have been reportedly removed from Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (Turnpike) offices in early 2000.
From interviews and a review of those public documents available to this Office, this Office is persuaded to call for an independent federal investigation by Congress into FHWA's role in downsizing the Big Dig cost estimate. This Office also calls for a re-examination of the FHWA-imposed funding cap that has harmed the citizens of Massachusetts by saddling them with billions of dollars in added debt.
Asked whether Big Dig management knew earlier than they have admitted about the approximately $2.5 billion cost overrun, a former Project Manager for Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff (B/PB) said in a press interview in mid-2000: "Some day the story will come out . . . ." This report attempts to fill in many pieces of the previously undisclosed story about the Big Dig overrun. Among the key points in this report are the following:
Key Points in the Report
- Section I: The Bond Issuance
- Section II: Missing Documents, Destroyed Public Property, and Cost
- Section III: Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff (B/PB) and the Governor
- Section IV: Federal Highway Adminstration (FHWA)
- Section V-Big Dig Officials Failure, Discovery, and Disclosure
- Section VI-Conclusion and Endnotes