More delays and rising costs for LIRR connection to GCT
Posted in the Weird Forum
#1 Jan 28, 2014
Commuters looking forward to the long-awaited project that will connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal may now have to wait until 2023.
New cost and timeline estimates were presented to board members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday, and even the most generous of the estimates made by the agency had the project delayed until at least 2020.
The cost for the project could exceed $10.7 billion, according to an estimate from the Federal Transit Administration. The authoritys own forecast places the cost as high as $9.7 billion.
In 2006, transit officials expected the project to be finished by the end of 2013, at a cost of $6.3 billion. In 2012, the authority projected a budget of $8.2 billion and a completion date of 2019.
The issue of budget and schedule has been continually eluding us, Thomas F. Prendergast, the authoritys chairman, said at a public meeting of the authoritys board on Monday.
Mr. Prendergast highlighted the complexity of the work, undertaken beneath a tangle of existing tracks and equipment, drawing a brief parallel to the construction of the Panama Canal. The plan, known as East Side Access, is believed to be the largest current infrastructure project in the country. The authority has estimated that it will serve about 160,000 customers a day.
In the authoritys best-case prediction, the project could still be completed as early as 2020 or 2021. Forecasts from the transit administration and an independent engineering consultant suggest a completion date of 2022 or 2023. Another consultant estimated 2021 or 2022.
The independent review presented on Monday, which was led by Rick Thorpe, a veteran of major rail projects, also recommended that the authority reorganize its oversight of the project by creating an executive steering committee, among other changes.
Another major project, the extension of the No. 7 train to 34th Street and 11th Avenue, will also have a wait. Though officials had said in recent months that the new station would open in June, Michael Horodniceanu, the authoritys president of capital construction, said on Monday that the opening would be delayed probably about three months, in part because of complications in the installation of an inclined elevator.
Earlier in the day, amid talk of the stalled additions to the system, the authority delivered an unrelated update on some subtractions: its long-running experiment to remove trash cans from subway stations, hoping that riders will take their garbage with them.
The authority said that it would expand the test to include 29 more stations, spanning almost all of the J line and part of the M, citing behavioral changes among subway riders whose trash cans have been taken away in the past.
In 2011, the authority began its pilot program at the Eighth Street and Broadway and Flushing-Main Street stations. Eight more stations were added to the test in 2012.
The total number of trash bags collected by the authority at the stations without cans decreased by 66 percent, the authority said. Litter throughout the stations has generally remained level or decreased, officials said, though the amount of trash collected from tracks increased by 3.2 percent. Rat populations have also decreased or remained unchanged.
One board member, Mark Page, the former city budget director under Michael R. Bloomberg, wondered whether the program might be affecting other trash collectors.
If were not collecting it, its either getting dumped in the street or someone else is collecting it, he said during a public meeting at the authoritys Midtown headquarters.
The citys Sanitation Department said it would monitor the street-level areas surrounding the stations where cans will be removed to determine if more trash is deposited. The past trial stations did not spark an increase in trash nearby, the department said.
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