danib62 wrote:I just don't see the logic in spending that much on a station that is a quarter mile from the high speed line. $16.97 mil probably buys you a decent amount of maintenance work on the PCC fleet...
The station itself is well worth the inclusion. Mattapan is just that huge and under-served that if Fairmount ever gets the frequencies promised this will be one of the higher-ridership stations. They still need the thwarted 28X BRT route out of Dudley on top of the HSL and Fairmount Line; that's how much of a demand center Mattapan Sq. is. Hell...Mattapan more than demands a proper one-seat Red Line extension from Ashmont, were it not for the Miltonites who have historically refused to ever trade in their boutique stops for a consolidated Lower Mills heavy rail stop. Unfortunately for Mattapan, it's those NIMBY's just a few blocks north and the DCAIMBY's (Don't Change Anything In My Backyard
) a few blocks east...ugh! The former group responsible for this station's torturous public comment saga were the same ones primarily responsible for turfing the seemingly straightforward 28X.
Cost for the stop being absurdly off-scale high is unrelated to demand served. But there absolutely needs to be an audit here, because there is nothing unorthodox design-related that could ever plausibly explain why this stop is costing so much more than the other Fairmount infills. The dispute with the neighborhood was on precise siting...not above-and-beyond frills or distorting the build into greater engineering degree of difficulty. It's still a fairly generic and prefab build indistinct from the other new stops. This seems like another case of the T being so chronically short of internal project managers that they're once again non-reactive to an outside contractor who submits them a crooked number. It's one thing if a megaproject like GLX gets hit with it; the FCMB will react when the stakes are that big. But when the project manager positions tasked with watching the contractors are top-to-bottom unfilled across the organization the same problem manifests itself on smaller projects below a threshold where they can/will assign audit resources.
That ends up being where senseless bloat accumulates quickest and does its biggest aggregate damage to the agency over time: not the rarest GLX-scope megaprojects but more regular design-build stuff like station renovations and additions further down the food chain. That's where the watchers are surrendering to the futility of being chronically overwhelmed and outnumbered. It explains why so many recent commuter rail stations and rapid transit station renos, parking garages, and the like have had such glaring cost overruns and/or ham-fisted workmanship, late-breaking change orders, and do-overs of chintzy crap like botched concrete pours. Also explains why there's been such a rash of unchecked station cost bloat in recent years while this wasn't quite as chronic or extensive a problem during the late-90's/early-00's wave of ADA blitzes and commuter rail extensions.
It's up to the FCMB do break out of its current paralysis of issuing PowerPoints that prove some thinktank whitepaper about outsourcing more functions, and actually start structurally gearing the real-world agency towards that. You can't outsource more if you won't staff enough internal project managers throughout the organization in that all-important watchers role. Exhibit A are design-build contracts like Blue Hill where outside firms have always been doing the primary work. If those projects keep chronically flying off-scale from too few watchers, of course they're going to have big problems incorporating ANY more outsiders into the mix on other agency functions. Perhaps get out of whitepaper land and start attacking that project mgr. deficit on stuff like a much-needed Blue Hill Ave. audit first as a proof-of-concept first??? Maybe react sooner to a funny-looking quote than a GLX-level meltdown? Maybe pay oversight salaries that are the going rate for a competitive industry instead of acting discouraged that the free market isn't drawing them any flies at bottom-barrel compensation? Hello, FCMB members...golden opportunity here @ Blue Hill to walk the talk...anyone awake???