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Delays, cost overruns plague MTA projects

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Delays, cost overruns plague MTA projects

By Daniel Massey

 

Published: October 20, 2009

 

Metropolitan Transportation Authority capital projects are plagued by delays of as long as five years and cost overruns of as much as 90%, but the agency often doesn’t collect enough information to determine whether the projects are proceeding according to plan, a new report charges.

 

The delays and transparency issues affect mega projects like the Fulton Street Transit Center as well as smaller ones such as the replacement of subway cars.

 

The report by the independent Citizens Budget Commission, which analyzed the MTA’s $18.6 billion, 798-project capital plan for 2005 through 2007, found that the agency’s board does not collect sufficient information to determine whether projects are progressing as anticipated. The limited information that is available for the projects shows that there are significant delays on projects of all sizes.

 

Of the five mega projects studied, only the South Ferry Terminal proceeded as scheduled. The Fulton Street Transit Center—set to be completed in 2014—is five years behind schedule and the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access and extension of the No. 7 line are at least a year behind schedule.

 

Communication projects were also delayed, including public address/customer information upgrades, which were delayed by four years. Replacement of subway cars was delayed by eight months.

 

Many of the projects meet initial cost estimates, but some mega projects and signal and communication projects are seriously over budget, the report found. The $1.4 billion Fulton Street terminal is nearly 90% over its initial estimate and the South Ferry terminal ran 24% above estimates. Modernization of signals on the L line, expected to be completed by 2004, is still not done and costs for the upgrade are 51% more than expected.

 

The report comes as the MTA’s current five-year capital plan nears its end and a proposed $28.1 billion one is being developed for the 2010-2014 period.

 

“Now is the time to make improvements, so that the next plan is one on which the MTA can actually deliver,” said Charles Brecher, research director of the CBC, in a statement.

 

The report included recommendations for the MTA to build an improved tracking system for capital projects and provide the public with regular status updates. New procedures and personnel are needed to manage mega projects and upgrades to signaling and communications systems, the report also argues. Plus, more realistic goals need to be set on how much money is needed to accomplish capital goals.

 

In a statement, an MTA spokesman said the agency will unveil an online tool by the end of the year that will provide the public with clear, updated information about all of the projects in the upcoming capital program. “For the first time, you’ll be able to search by project type, line or station to find out exactly where construction stands, why the work is necessary and whether it is on budget,” the statement said.

 

Original Source

www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20091020/FREE/910209991

 

 

My comments- Just review the numbers involves here, and how much cash the (MTA) spends to keep these contracts going, and they 'don't have 350 million over three years for in house employees?!?!' Gimme a break! Try saying that to the outside contractors & see what happens..'

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Whoever does the accounting for the MTA, they should all be fired and replaced or have an outside firm do all the accounting because the MTA just can't budget things properly. With its size, it's no question there's bound to be 'fuzzy math' used.

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Just insanity. It's like the Mets medical staff, it just doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

Also, I have to wonder about the MTA handing out contracts to outside firms and such. Sure any company can say they can do it for less, but that doesn't mean they are the best for the job. Sometimes the cheaper ones can end up being very costly.

Where are the clauses in the contracts that fines companies for going over budget? Where's the friggin accountability for all these failures?

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Don't get me started on that; the situation with the Mets this year was abominable.

Notwithstanding, methinks more financial accountability is needed when it comes to these and other expenditures...

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Whoever does the accounting for the MTA, they should all be fired and replaced or have an outside firm do all the accounting because the MTA just can't budget things properly. With its size, it's no question there's bound to be 'fuzzy math' used.

 

Nah if people listen to Mike Bloomberg its our fault....:confused:

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I blame the contractors. Yesterday at Jay Street I over heard several contractors, one said that they could close off a stair way to be rebuilt in a day. Another contractor who seemed to be thier suporvisor, said no don't do it in a day, drag it out.

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Transit keeps hiring the same contractors who **** up every job. The problem is someone is receiving handouts in the backoffice. But the Hourly workers are the **** ups. Just venting

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I blame the contractors. Yesterday at Jay Street I over heard several contractors, one said that they could close off a stair way to be rebuilt in a day. Another contractor who seemed to be thier suporvisor, said no don't do it in a day, drag it out.

 

Call it in brother...that's a real reason for "if you see something say something" right there.

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That's pure corruption right there... People these days!

 

I'd rather have a functional train station than nothing at all!! If only you saw the broken down escalator at the Flushing-Main Street Station, The last time I ever saw it working was the day I stood outside GameStop at 11 PM awaiting the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl!!!

 

To this day it still remains closed with a new "estimated completion date" sign every time the new due date arrives...

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Call it in brother...that's a real reason for "if you see something say something" right there.

 

I only call in unattended bags and suspicious people when I think it could be a real danger to myself or others. I am not a fan of those who drop a dime on others. Plus, I did not record it so i have no evidence at all.

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I only call in unattended bags and suspicious people when I think it could be a real danger to myself or others. I am not a fan of those who drop a dime on others. Plus, I did not record it so i have no evidence at all.

 

Wasting taxpayer money is far worse than any of that. Paranoia over bombs and nerve gas in our subway system is stupid post 9/11 fear mongering. Preparations should be taken, but this idea that every bag on a platform is potentially a bomb is ridiculous and stupid.

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Wasting taxpayer money is far worse than any of that. Paranoia over bombs and nerve gas in our subway system is stupid post 9/11 fear mongering. Preparations should be taken, but this idea that every bag on a platform is potentially a bomb is ridiculous and stupid.

 

There have only been 2 occasions where I have alerted the police due too suspicious activity. One was as very large bag left unattended out side of the tower at West 4th Street. The second was for a group of men entering the tunnel off a station on the 4th Ave line. On the last one, I would rather there be a slow down of a train or two while they look for them then a train hitting and killing one or all of them and delaying every ones commute. I don't think any of that is post 9/11 paranoia, it's common scene.

 

As for the waste of tax payers money, that will happen no matter what. Plus I could have taken everything out of context too, maybe there was something else that needed to be done first. Had I had actual evidence that they were trying to rip off the MTA, yea I would have said something.

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There have only been 2 occasions where I have alerted the police due too suspicious activity. One was as very large bag left unattended out side of the tower at West 4th Street. The second was for a group of men entering the tunnel off a station on the 4th Ave line. On the last one, I would rather there be a slow down of a train or two while they look for them then a train hitting and killing one or all of them and delaying every ones commute. I don't think any of that is post 9/11 paranoia, it's common scene.

 

As for the waste of tax payers money, that will happen no matter what. Plus I could have taken everything out of context too, maybe there was something else that needed to be done first. Had I had actual evidence that they were trying to rip off the MTA, yea I would have said something.

 

Fair enough.

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