The Secretary of State ordered the MBTA to release a sealed consultant’s report on the botched Green Line extension, and the results are as frustrating as you might expect. MassDOT, the MBTA, and the firm they hired to manage the project ignored multiple signs that the project cost would vastly increase.
Although the MBTA tends to get a lot of blame, remember that the Green Line Extension always was and still remains a MassDOT responsibility, that the early estimates by VHB were the furthest from reality, that MassDOT was a full participant in coming up with the screwy contract structure which they sold to the state legislators as likely to produce a cheaper project with faster completion, that MassDOT and the MBTA and the MassDOT Board were aware of the cost discrepancies as far back as the Full Funding Grant application to FTA and did not move to reconcile them, and that the MassDOT Board was in charge of this all along until very recent creation of the FMCB.
“Signs of Green Line extension costs ignored” (Boston Globe)
“The report noted that the MBTA and HDR/Gilbane, the firm hired to manage the project, relied on HDR/Gilbane’s budget estimates, despite signs that the numbers were probably unreliable….The report found many flaws in the MBTA’s management of the project: Essentially, the MBTA did not fully understand the contracting process – called ‘construction manager/general contractor’ – that it used.
The MBTA and HDR/Gilbane also didn’t follow best practices with regard to the contracting process, which would have forced White-Skanska-Kiewit to be more transparent regarding the costs for its work, the report said. As a result, the MBTA wasn’t able to evaluate whether the costs from White-Skanska-Kiewit were reasonable or appropriate.”
“Report: MBTA knew two years ago about Green Line ext. overruns” (CommonWealth Magazine)
“But the biggest share of the blame pie was reserved for the MBTA and its project manager. In a chart of eight critical areas, the report said the T and HDR/Gilbane came up short in all eight categories, including not understanding the bidding process they championed. The chart faults Stanton Constructability Services, the independent cost estimator, in three areas, including responsibility for cost overruns. White Skanska, the chief contractor on the project, failed in one area, budget reliability.”