Construction costs

Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

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flexliner
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 3:01 am

Construction costs

Post by flexliner » Fri Dec 29, 2017 4:00 am

interesting article in NY times (may be behind paywall but not sure)
regarding construction costs of several NY or MTA projects (ie Hudson Yards, 2nd Ave and ESA)
which run several billion per track mile
vs costs of similar projects elsewhere in US and world (example given of Line 14 IIRC extension in Paris
sort of similar to 2nd Ave) where costs ran several hundred million per track mile.

article seems to point out lots of waste, bureaucracy and other factors involved in NY construction costs

and I presume that no US agency would dare contract "out" (ie foreign construction companies) for such projects.....

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/nyre ... -news&_r=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Gilbert B Norman
Posts: 14159
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Construction costs

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:43 pm

This was lead article in The Times print edition today.

I suppose that if you are willing to work under those conditions, you should be well paid. There are many another Union jobs around NYC and elsewhere that are in the same league. Case in point: Stage Hands with the Metropolitan Opera. Pretty safe assumption that a Principal musician (Union) at the Philharmonic is hauling in $250K - plus any another "side gigs" such as instruction.

But back in the tunnels; if these kind of costs are being incurred with East Side Access, including the "Featherbedding" noted, sure hate to think what "We The Taxpayers" are in for when the Gateway project finally begins.

johndmuller
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:39 pm

Re: Construction costs

Post by johndmuller » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:15 pm

That piece in the Times seemed to have a lot of research/legwork behind it. Also, while it pointed out some bad stuff (like the extra few hundred workers without job slots) it was not very contentious and was mostly just pointing out stuff.

While too much of this kind of information could turn our infrastructure projects into too much of a political hot potato to ever get anything done, just the right amount of light shining on the process could have beneficial effects.

If everyone's cards were on the negotiating table, and some questionable items were exposed to pubic view (and some public shaming) there would be sufficient "cover" for someone like a union leader to scale back demands without losing face. Similarly, if unreasonable change orders were publicly exposed, or bloated yet useless consultant products were brought to everyone's attention, things might change for the better.

My favorite solution, though, is for there to be a permanent subway construction department within the MTA (and/or the Port Authority, or whatever) doing the construction work soup to nuts in house. You can Yada Yada Yada all you want about government workers, but I think that the benefits in continuity, institutional memory, supervision and assigning and taking responsibility would more than make up for any supposed slacking off that the nay-sayers would impugn.

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