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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Ogdensburg Won’t Save Money With a PLA

By |January 31st, 2019|Categories: News, Statewide, Uncategorized|

For years, the city of Ogdensburg has struggled to gather funding for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant. Now, with the final financing pieces falling into place, the spendthrift City Council has voted to irresponsibly waste tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to conduct a study to consider using a Project Labor Agreement: a discriminatory, pre-hire agreement with labor organizations requiring that the workforce comes from the local union hiring hall.

Mt. Kisco Should Reject Project Labor Agreement for Firehouse Project

By |January 29th, 2019|Categories: Long Island, News|

The critical project for renovations and additions to the Green Street firehouse will provide hundreds of construction jobs to the region. That’s the good news. The bad news? The Mount Kisco Village Board is making this taxpayer-funded project significantly more expensive by mandating a Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

Death From Above: Lawmaker Envisions Bird-Safe Buildings in New York City

By |January 24th, 2019|Categories: New York City, News|

Brian Sampson, president of the Empire State Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, which works on behalf of over 400 construction and contracting firms throughout New York State, said he’s actually a bird fan. It’s just that saving them from deadly building crashes with a new law is “unnecessary” and “pretty far down the list” compared to other big cost-drivers affecting construction such as the dusty scaffolding laws, the calculation of prevailing wages, and even recreational marijuana legalization that has been floated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a possible law that he said could endanger pot-free hardhats working alongside legal users.

New York Ranks 47th for Construction Business Climate, According to ABC Scorecard

By |December 3rd, 2018|Categories: ABC Press Release, News, Statewide, Uncategorized|

Construction contractors in New York continue to struggle to do business, according to 2018 state rankings released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). “Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard” reviews and ranks state-specific information significant to the success of the commercial and industrial construction industry.

Ogdensburg Council Hears From Businesses Opposed to Wastewater Plant Union Agreement

By |November 28th, 2018|Categories: News, Statewide|

A spokeswoman for the Empire State Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, along with two north country private contractors, have informed elected officials in Ogdensburg that they do not support using a Project Labor Agreement as part of the municipality’s $35 million wastewater treatment plant project.

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