Second Ave. Sagas: Inside The Times’ Deep Dive Into The Factors Behind The MTA’s Massive Cost Problems

From Second Ave. Sagas:

Why do New York rail construction projects cost so much? In essence, with a $5-$6 billion tag attached to Phase 2 of the Second Ave. Subway on the horizon (let alone the recent politicking over the fate of the Gateway Tunnel), this is the big question plaguing New York. With limited dollars not going nearly as far as they do the world over, the MTA’s cost problems are a significant barrier to New York City transit expansion.

For years, those watching the MTA have rung the alarm on the agency’s high construction costs. I’ve written about cost concerns and the ever-increasing budgets for big-ticket MTA capital projects for years, and I’m not alone. Alon Levy has, since this post in 2011, charted the absurd costs of U.S. rail construction in detailed comparisons with international peers, and Stephen Smith, via the @MarketUrbanism twitter feed, has beaten the cost drum. When challenged, MTA officials have acknowledged that construction costs, but no one has tackled the twin issues of cost transparency and cost control. No one, that is, until last week, when The Times ran a massive front-page story charting all the reasons why NYC transit construction is so high.

As the finale in the series that started with an in-depth look at our unfolding transit crisis, Brian Rosenthal, with help from Doris Burke and Alain Delaquérière, has done what the MTA or the New York State Comptroller should have done years ago: They scrutinized MTA spending and took a deep dive into the agency’s contracting practices, staffing policies and lack of productivity in a way that lays bare just how bad the MTA is at managing big-ticket construction projects or getting a good return on its dollar. The article is, essentially, the story of how institutionalized corruption has become the norm in New York City. I highly urge you to read the entire piece and peruse through my instant reaction Twitter thread from Friday. I’ll excerpt a bit here.

Read the entire article: Second Ave. Sagas

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Marijuana Decriminalization to Pass, Wage Mandate Stalls

By |June 20th, 2019|Categories: News, Statewide, Uncategorized|

On Thursday, Cuomo declared a bill expanding a "prevailing wage" requirement that would apply to larger construction projects likely dead. The law would have expanded the definition of "public works" in New York to include projects receiving more than 30 percent of their funding from the government – making those projects eligible for the wage requirement. Powerful building trades unions, who are among Cuomo's most significant political supporters, had pushed the mandate this session.

Statement by Brian Sampson, President of the Associated Builders and Contractors Empire State Chapter Regarding Assemblyman Bronson’s New Prevailing Wage Bill (A.8418)

By |June 18th, 2019|Categories: ABC Press Release, News, Statewide|

The new Bronson prevailing wage bill is another sad attempt by the people we elect to do nothing more than appease the unions at the expense of the taxpayers.

Empire Chapter President, Brian Sampson Discusses The Devastating Impact of The New Prevailing Wage Bill

By |June 18th, 2019|Categories: ABC Press Release, News, Statewide|

As a full-service trade [...]

What’s Pushing Prevailing Wage Into The ‘Big Ugly’

By |June 11th, 2019|Categories: ABC Press Release, Statewide|

A lack of public hearings on the issue and the rush to get the bill passed by the end of session also means that final details of the bill will be determined behind closed doors, according to Brian Sampson, president of Empire Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors. “The potential impact of this bill, as drafted, could stop economic development in parts of this state for a long time,” he said. “Why aren't we talking about this bill more openly, and having more discussions and dialogue about it, instead of wrapping it up with a pretty little bow in the ‘Big Ugly?’”

Union Requirement Inflates Cost of State Fair Bridge

By |May 23rd, 2019|Categories: News, Statewide|

A shortage of bids on the New York State Fairgrounds pedestrian bridge project will leave New Yorkers paying more, but getting less. When plans for the project were released with an accompanying project labor agreement (PLA), the playing field narrowed from 20 companies interested in the project to just two submitting bids, with the lowest bid coming in well in excess of $1 million over engineering estimates. Why the drastic decrease in competition and increase in costs? The answer can be found in three simple letters: PLA.

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2018-09-21T16:18:52-04:00