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MTA seeks another $798 million to finish East Side Access project long plagued by delays and rising costs

2019-09-20

Finishing the MTA’s cavernous new Long Island Rail Road stop beneath Grand Central Terminal will cost another $798 million, the agency projects in its new capital budget plan.

It’s another cost increase for the giant project, which the Metropolitan Transportation Authority expects will be finished in 2022, 13 years behind schedule.

The project’s cost has ballooned to $11.1 billion — a jump of $6.8 billion over its original projected cost.

The agency detailed the new East Side Access pricetag in an update Thursday to its $51.5 billion capital plan. The broad strokes of the plan were announced Monday.

The project — formally known as East Side Access — includes seven miles of new tracks under the East River and cavernous new set of train platforms beneath Grand Central.

When it was first proposed in the mid-1990s during the administration of Gov. George Pataki, East Side Access was projected to cost $4.3 billion, and be completed by 2009.

The project’s cost has risen steadily. In 2012, its total price tag was expected to be $8 billion.

Gov. Cuomo had promised to push down the project’s costs. The MTA now says the $11.1 billion figure will hold steady. “Key initiatives to control both cost and schedule have been implemented to deliver this critical regional asset,” the MTA said.

MTA 2020-2024 Capital Program - Full Report by New York Daily News on Scribd

MTA construction crews need to build a new entrance to Grand Central at 48th St. to support the expansion.

They also need to fix a long-neglected rail connection in Queens, said the report. Agency officials must also purchase new trains to service the new station, and finish the project’s design.

The document released Thursday makes no mention of the cost of escalators for the project, which will be critical for the station to run smoothly as the East Side Access station is eight stories underground.

MTA officials have stated the new station will allow a 50% increase in LIRR peak service into Manhattan from Long Island and Queens.

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