A 400-page report by NY University researchers revealed shocking failures by the MTA.
MTA is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It is a public benefit corporation managing transit in the NYC metropolitan area. What did the researchers discover? The MTA failed to supervise the firms hired. They drew bespoke escalators, over-staffed the project, and dug extra-large platform caverns.
Eric Goldwyn is one of the authors of the report. Eric said, "Other places in the world – in Madrid, in four years, they built 80 miles of subway. We've built just a mile."
"We're doing dramatically less and spending dramatically more, so future projects are in peril," he continues. "With Phase 2 [of the Second Avenue Subway], they're still trying to get all the funding together."
The MTA has a debt of over $40 billion and spends $3 billion per year on payments. The research paper studied the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway. At the time of the study, this phase was the most expensive subway project in the world.
The team assessed the construction of new transit lines across the globe. Countries like Istanbul, Rome, Paris, London, and Stockholm built railways for a fraction of the cost.
Where does MTA spend transit capital?
The researchers found that "among its global peers, the MTA is uniquely dependent on consultants and contractors to design, engineer, and manage projects. It then fails to properly oversee the hired help, allowing projects to balloon in size and get bogged down in delays."
How do Europeans spend transit capital?
"European transit agencies perform the bulk of their project design, engineering, and construction management with white-collar agency staff instead of relying on outside entities. And when they hire outside firms, they keep them on a short leash." (source)
"In Europe, transit agencies have standardized the designs of their stations to cut down on engineering costs, speed construction, and repairs." (source)
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