The saga of the 7 line extension continues. A few weeks after MTA CEO Elliot “Lee” Sander announced that the project was on hold while the city’s contributions to cost overruns was in question, the Transit Authority is proceeding apace with the project, funding be damned. For now.
On Tuesday, the MTA awarded its first contracts for the project to extend the reach of the purple 7 to 34th St. and 11th Ave. But despite this allocation, the MTA is still proceeding with caution as the project may still exceed the $2.1 billion allocated for it by New York City. No one yet knows who will shoulder the burden for cost overruns.
Metro, one of New York City’s two free dailies, reports on the developments:
It’s full steam ahead for the 7 line extension — at least for now — as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded a $35.8 million contract yesterday for a construction manager to oversee the project.
But the new subway plan could be stopped in its tracks as early as this summer if the first round of construction bids comes in too high, warned Mysore Nagaraja, the head of MTA Capital Construction. The city is giving $2.1 billion for the 7 line extension, which will run from Times Square to Eleventh Avenue and 34th Street. Yet fears of cost overruns have led to finger-pointing between the city and the MTA over who would be stuck paying a higher final tab.
Nagaraja was quoted in numerous news sources this evening as taking something of a hard line against the city’s refusal to cover cost overruns. “Right now, based on our estimate, we are within the 2.1,” he said, “but let’s see what happens with the proposals. We’re going to know whether we are under the budget or we’re going to be way over. At that time, decisions will have to be made between the city and the MTA as to whether we want to proceed with this.”
So we’re at a standstill but not. The MTA is proceeding with caution as it approaches a project the City it would fund and then later added a caveat of $2.1 billion. I’m afriad we’ll see a shell station at 10th and 41st St. that will never be completed and a less-than-satisfactory resolution to this process. Maybe the City and the MTA can reach a compromise, but history is not on the side of a compromise between these two stubborn governing bodies.