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BOSTON-After months of investigations and audits, the state is now considering legal action against Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, the Big Dig’s lead contractor. The massive highway project’s budget ballooned up to $14.6 billion and a report released last year by the Inspector General stated that the contractor cost the state $65 million in cost overruns.

The move comes just as legislation is about to be decided on whether to create a commission with independent jurisdiction and authority to oversee the cost recovery efforts. The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority recently appointed its own cost recovery team headed by former judge Edward Ginsburg, but state Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, who is sponsoring the legislation on the new commission, tells GlobeSt.com that while Ginsburg is a consultant to the Turnpike Authority, the commission being proposed will be made of “constitutionally elected officers whose responsibility it is to deal with this issue.” The membership of the commission would include: the chairperson, a dean or professor of a Massachusetts law school to be appointed by the state auditor; the inspector general or a designee; the state auditor or a designee; a forensic accountant; the secretary of the commonwealth or a designee; the governor or a designee; and the Federal Highway Regional Administrator or a designee.

Ginsburg is quoted in recent local published reports talking about the state’s possible plans to sue Bechtel. Pacheco, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight Committee, says that he questions Ginsburg’s recent move to “talk publicly about” suing the Big Dig contractors. “I would hope he would rethink the public relations strategy and stick with the legal piece of this,” he says.

But Pacheco acknowledges that the state would be likely to sue Bechtel if the firm is not cooperative and no agreement can be reached. “Then Judge Ginsburg would have no choice but to go to court,” he notes.

The ongoing cost recovery efforts on the Big Dig include recent legislation that was passed last year that would allow the state to pursue claims on contractors on the project for up to 10 years.

Calls to the state Attorney General’s office and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority were not returned by deadline.

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