Contractors on the botched Boston construction project dubbed the Big Dig will pay state and federal authorities $458 million for its “gross failures.” But Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff will avoid criminal charges for a fatal 2006 ceiling collapse and won’t be banned from future government contracts, the Boston Herald reports. Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley called it “the best possible solution.”
But critics quickly blasted the deal. Coakley “should be ashamed,” said one official. Gov. Deval Patrick had supported barring Bechtel/Parsons from seeking lucrative public projects, but Coakley insisted that would have cut down on the monetary settlement that would ensure safety. The 17-year project of bridges and tunnels in downtown Boston—blighted by delays, scandals, and blunders—cost taxpayers $15 billion.