NY MTA falling behind on transportation infrastructure protection

Published 6 March 2006

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has fallen more than a year behind its own schedule to protect its trains, buses, stations, bridges, and tunnels from terrorist attacks with structural upgrades and advanced electronic equipment, according to a report released yesterday by the state comptroller. The analysis, which focused on a program of capital improvements budgeted at $591 million by the authority’s board after the 9/11 attack, found that the authority has finished only one of five high-priority projects that were to have been completed by now. Work on what the authority has called Phase 1 of the security enhancements, including eleven more projects scheduled for completion by mid-2008, will not be completed until November 2009, said the comptroller, Alan Hevesi.

The report comes at a time when there is already mounting criticism of the authority’s security plans, which are also over budget. An earlier analysis by Hevesi’s staff, released in September, projected that the authority would need an additional $130 million to get the job done, and the authority came under blistering criticism a month ago when members of a City Council committee said the delays were putting the public at risk.