The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access project, which aims to connect Long Island Rail Road commuters to a new 350,000-square-foot concourse at Grand Central Terminal, is yet again behind schedule and over budget.
MTA officials revealed the project’s beleaguered status in a New York State Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions hearing Friday. Asked for an estimated cost and completion date, Craig Stewart, senior director of capital programs for the MTA, said the project is “slipping a little bit further and could cost more.”
At last count, the project had an estimated cost of $8.3 billion and a projected completion date of 2019. Originally, the plan was to have LIRR trains in Grand Central by 2009, to the tune of $4.3 billion.
“We don’t think we’ll make 2019,” Stewart sad at the hearing, according to Newsday.
The project has hit a number of snags over the years, including problems with contractors and unexpected engineering difficulties. At Friday’s hearing, Stewart said the MTA has now hired a consultant with outside “expertise that we don’t necessarily have,” in an effort to speed up the project and lower the cost.
“It’s discouraging,” William Henderson, executive director of the MTA’s Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee, told Newsday. “I mean, you talk to people on Long Island and they say, ‘I’m never going to ride this thing. I’m going to be retired before it happens.”
The Second Avenue subway line has been similarly delayed and is presently clocking in at a cost of $351 million. The first phase of the project, including the opening of a new station at East 96th Street, is slated to be up and running by December 2016 and will connect to stops at East 86th and 72nd streets. [Newsday] — Julie Strickland