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MTA Report: Vacancies may stall projects

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MTA Report: Vacancies may stall projects

BY PETE DONOHUE

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

June 16th 2008

 

541622599_b7caee1183.jpg?v=0

Triborough's Photostream

Mysore Nagaraja, former President of MTA Capital Construction

 

The Federal Transit Administration is concerned that major MTA construction projects could be mucked up because the authority hasn't filled high-level management positions, the Daily News has learned.

 

"Several key positions," including Capital Construction president, "continue to be filled on a temporary basis and other key positions are still vacant," FTA monitors wrote in an April report in a section titled Major Issues/Problems.

 

Later in the report, which focuses on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's extension of the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal, the feds observe that an MTA-hired consultant "continues to stress the importance for [the MTA] to fill these positions as soon as possible to properly manage a project of this magnitude."

 

Completion dates for the LIRR extension have been pushed back several times and are now pegged by the MTA at February 2015. The final price tag has risen by more than $1 billion to $8.4 billion.

 

The FTA report doesn't blame changes to the original schedule or budget on a lack of leadership.

 

The agency has said that construction costs for transit projects nationwide have increased by nearly 40% in recent years in part because of a worldwide building boom.

 

The report makes clear that the federal government is closely watching the MTA's so-called mega projects and expects the MTA to quickly address issues that arise.

 

MTA Capital Construction Co. President Mysore Nagaraja left the MTA for private practice Dec. 31 after delaying his departure for several months.

 

"The FTA knows and is satisfied that a new president will be named shortly," the MTA said in response to a Daily News question.

 

A high-ranking MTA executive has been serving as acting president.

 

Another position discussed in the April federal report is the LIRR extension project's "program executive," the highest post on the project. The senior-vice president with that role resigned in April 2005. His replacement started work on Monday, the MTA said.

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