On and off over the last few weeks, I’ve questioned the delays in implementation the MTA has faced as the agency has tried to implement its long-overdue security plan. While Homeland Security has funneled more money toward the MTA, the reality is that the MTA’s $1.1 billion plan to secure the subways is short funds and past its deadline.
I’m not the only one noting these problems. Yesterday, the City Council dragged MTA officials in for a hearing on the state of the anti-terror initiatives. The MTA faced questions about its flawed video system, the one the comptroller said could not be installed, and officials tried to stress the need for more money. NY1′s Bobby Cuza has more:
The one thing everyone agrees on is the lack of assistance from the federal government. To date, the MTA has received only about $180 million in federal security grants, just a fraction of its overall needs.
“This does not begin to meet the funding needs for these types of programs over such a large transportation network,” said [Ronnie] Hakim, [acting president of MTA Capital Construction].
In fact, of about $500 million worth of security projects now being planned, only about $140 million is funded. Where the rest will come from, the MTA says remains to be seen.
This is, of course, an old concern and one that should not be forgotten. Our subway system is a rather porous and vital part of New York City. It ferries millions of New Yorkers to and from their jobs and school each day. A London-style attack on the transit network would be devastating to the city in ways both emotionally and economically.
Somehow, someway, the MTA must get the money it needs to put its security program into place. And on the flip side, the MTA must figure out a way to make these technological integrations a top priority so they don’t end up with security systems that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and don’t work.
Until then, we’ll just have to hope that terrorists don’t target the city’s subways. We can’t afford inaction until it’s too late.