Can the Port Authority & MTA avoid the same mistake?
by Larry Penner
Mar 02, 2016 | 6904 views | 1 1 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Opening the new Port Authority of New York and New Jersey World Trade Center PATH Station fifteen years after 9/11 is not a cause for celebration. No wonder they elected to forgo a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Rather, it is a sad commentary on the mismanagement of taxpayers funds used for a major transportation project.

The result calls into question both the financial and technical capacity of PANYNJ and PATH to manage other ongoing major transportation projects.

These include the $24 billion Gateway Tunnel from New Jersey to Penn Station, $10 billion PANYNJ 42nd Street Bus Terminal, $1.5 billion PATH extension to Newark Airport and $450 million LaGuardia Airtrain.

Other than basic planning feasibility studies, there is little evidence that environmental documents or preliminary design and engineering efforts necessary to validate any basic estimates for construction costs of all four proposed projects have been completed.

The PATH WTC Station original start date was 2003 with a completion date of 2009 at a cost of $2 billion. The PANYNJ subsequently signed a construction agreement with the Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration. This made up to $2.2 billion in federal funding available for the new PATH Terminal.

The grant agreement between the PANYNJ and federal DOT was awarded in December 2003. It included a commitment for start of construction in the beginning of 2006 with completion on or before June 2011.

Fast forward 15 years later, and construction was completed many years beyond the original promised scheduled date. At $4 billion, the cost was 100 percent - or $2 billion - higher that the original $2 billion.

Both the project delays and major cost overruns are nothing to be proud of.

Success for construction of the LaGuardia Airtrain is dependent upon the PANYNJ and MTA working well together. Fifteen years after 9/11, the Cortland Street subway station is still several years away from being back in service.

If there are no new delays, perhaps the station will reopen by December 2018. The two agencies fought for years over budget, funding sources, scope and schedule.

Has the PANYNJ conducted a detailed analysis on the WTC PATH Station project to avoid the same mistakes on future projects? Commuters and taxpayers deserve nothing less.

Larry Penner is a resident of Great Neck.
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Pedro Valdez Rivera
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March 26, 2016
Larry Penner, you are my inspiration to be the as much realistic as neutral centralist as it should be that focuses on the issue that matters most to me: Public Transportation in the MTA Region. Note: In a recent college graduate with a BA in History and pursuing a MA in Urban Studies in the considerable future, with a critical focus on improving mass transit in my community in the most factual and transparent was possible. I know that I read your letters on the dire situations on the MTA and the Dysfunctional Port Authority and you are an expert on Public Transportation in the past four decades. My question to you is: What certain resources should I need to research on these serious issues, such as a book, a video, an article, a website, etc., which I need to focus on my interest like this? Disclaimer: I am a Rogue Research Reporter for the Riders Alliance, a grassroots organization fighting for affordable improved subway, bus and commuter rail service in NYC.