Over five months ago — an eternity in the world of construction — Mysore Nagaraja left his post as head of MTA Capital Construction. Since then, the MTA has soldiered on with an interim head in place; Veronique Hakim is still just the acting head of the construction agency.
Now, however, this turmoil at the top has the feds worrying that the MTA is falling behind on their big-ticket items such as the Second Ave. Subway and the LIRR East Side Access project. The news just keeps getting worse for the MTA, and the future for a few much-needed expansion plans remains murky.
Pete Donohue had more about the feds’ concerns:
The Federal Transit Administration is concerned that major MTA construction projects could be mucked up because the authority hasn’t filled high-level management positions, the Daily News has learned.
“Several key positions,” including Capital Construction president, “continue to be filled on a temporary basis and other key positions are still vacant,” FTA monitors wrote in an April report in a section titled Major Issues/Problems.
Later in the report, which focuses on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s extension of the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal, the feds observe that an MTA-hired consultant “continues to stress the importance for [the MTA] to fill these positions as soon as possible to properly manage a project of this magnitude.”
The Daily News also notes that the project’s completion date is now 2015, two years late, and that the plan is now $1 billion over budget. Somehow, that’s less surprising than it should be.
For their part, the MTA says a new Capital Construction head will be forthcoming, and that person couldn’t arrive soon enough. With their finances in turmoil, the MTA can’t allow their on-going and federally-supported construction projects to fall further behind. The agency needs the continued support of the feds, and New Yorkers need these expansion plans to become a reality.