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Feds scold MBTA on discrimination record; risks losing $275M in federal funds

BOSTON — The MBTA risks losing nearly $275 million in federal funds for noncompliance with hiring laws, according to a letter from federal transportation officials.

The letter, sent Monday by officials from the Federal Transit and Highway administrations, ordered state Transportation Secretary Richard Davey and T chief Beverly Scott to submit a plan within 30 days to fix the T’s workplace discrimination problems and comply with equal employment opportunity laws.

“Lack of documentation coupled with the fact that MassDOT/MBTA received approximately 750 EEO complaints in a recent three-year time frame and expended more than $4 million in settlements and legal fees is extremely troubling and disappointing,” the officials wrote in a letter obtained by the Boston Herald .

The financially struggling Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority received $273 million in federal grants this year. It could lose the funding if it fails to comply with federal law.

The Transportation Department, the T’s parent agency, released a statement saying it was working to address the issues.

“While there has certainly been significant progress in minority and female representation over the years, we agree that more remains to be done. ... We are actively working and will continue to work together with our federal partners to ensure all employees are treated fairly and with respect.”

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