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Re: MTA says East Side Access may cost a whopping $1 BILLION more

Posted by Gold_12TH on Mon May 21 22:19:53 2012, in response to MTA says East Side Access may cost a whopping $1 BILLION more, posted by gold_12th on Mon May 21 18:57:04 2012.

The LIRR extension to Grand Central Terminal may cost $920 million more than the MTA’s most recent estimate, officials said Monday.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority also pushed back the East Side Access project’s expected completion date by three years to August 2019.

Officials cited the enormous complexity of a project that includes building new tunnels in Queens and Manhattan, and the reconfiguration of a massive juncture that’s being used by three different railroads.

But MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota also said authority staffers in the past had put forward unrealistic construction schedules and budgets.

“The era of underestimating the cost of big projects is over,” Lhota said after an MTA committee meeting. “We’re going to be realistic about the cost and we’re going to budget accordingly.”

That promise, however, may be of little comfort to Long Island commuters longing to take a train to Grand Central on the East Side of Manhattan rather than Penn Station.

“Frustration seems to be the commuters
’ daily lot,” said Mark Epstein, chairman of the Long Island Rail Road Commuters Council. “Fares are going up, service is cut, the commuter tax benefit is cut, and now ESA completion date pushed back yet again.”

Approximately 160,000 daily riders are expected to use the link, which the MTA has said also will reduce crowding on the No. 7 subway line and free up space in Penn Station for Metro-North Railroad trains carrying commuters from the northern suburbs.

Three years ago, the MTA estimated the price tag would be $7.32 billion and would be completed in 2016. The authority now estimates it will cost $8.24 billion and be completed in August 2019 — closer to what federal authorities for years have been predicting.

The MTA in 2006 said the project would be completed in 2013, when it reached a funding agreement with the federal government.

To stick to the latest construction schedule, the MTA will eliminate three evening rush hour trains out of Penn, and reschedule six others, for a three-week stretch this summer.

--- http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mta-east-side-access-project-cost-8-2b-article-1.1082218#ixzz1vYqiTcaC

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