Letter to the Editor: Something isn’t Adding Up With the MTA’s Cost for Two Key Projects

The MTA’s Feb. 23 public hearing notice for potential Federal Transit Administration funding of its 2021 Program of Projects left unanswered questions? Here is the link to the document https://new.mta.info/document/28146.

On page 118 there is a Metro-North request for $31 million in funding for Positive Train Control. In December, MTA Chairman Pat Foye and Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi said the project was completed. Then why is there additional work to be paid for and completed? There is no companion project being requested by the Long Island Rail Road for additional Positive Train Control funding.

On page 104, the Park Avenue Viaduct replacement is listed at $385.64 million; it cost $120 million under a previous Federal Transit Administration grant. Work on the viaduct took place between 1995 and 1998 to replace the existing deck. What was the anticipated useful life? Did Metro-North adequately fund and follow the maintenance plan for this asset so it would reach its useful life? Does this new project duplicate previous work?

Metro-North riders, taxpayers and elected officials deserve answers to these questions.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

The writer is a retired transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions of dollars in capital projects and programs for the MTA, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North, New York City Transit, MTA buses along with 30 other transit agencies in New York and New Jersey.