“Error of Judgment” Cost MTA $3M in Signal Upgrade Project

The MTA’s engineering department has “deliberately ruled out” a critical component of a 2021 signal improvement project — a “mistake of judgment” that has cost taxpayers an additional $3 million, the MTA inspector general said.

NYC Transit officials told MTA board members in June 2021 that a “field survey” had found “deterioration” of cable routes along the elevated tracks, resulting in an additional $2.9 million work order for the 25- million dollar project.

However, an investigation found that building officials were previously aware of the problem but “almost certainly ruled it out” from the project due to budget constraints, acting IG Elizabeth Keating said.

“NYC Transit likely spent more replacing the cable trays than if that task had been included in the original scope of work,” according to an IG report released Thursday.

Officials from MTA Construction and Development, then known as MTA Capital Construction, misled board members by implying that the need to replace the cable ducts was not known before work began.

MTA Office of the Inspector General
MTA Inspector General Elizabeth Keating blames the New York City Transit Department of Transportation for not fixing the problem sooner.
MTA New York City Transit

Construction and Development was led by current MTA CEO Janno Lieber from 2017 to August 2021.

But Keating also blamed New York City Transit’s road maintenance department for not fixing the bug sooner.

“The MOW staff did not check the plans closely enough,” says the IG report.

Keating noted in a statement, “Expanding scope once a project is underway is notorious for increasing the cost of a project, as any homeowner knows.”

When asked “why he didn’t classify it as a mistake or an omission,” the site manager suggested that the condition of the shells had deteriorated after the MTA designers completed their investigations.

However, the IG probe found that was not the case, as the surveys had early flagged the shells as “in poor condition” and in need of repair.

MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber
Janno Lieber serves as MTA Chairman and CEO.
Lev Radin/Sipa USA
A “field observation” had identified a “deterioration” of the cable routes along the tracks.

“Sure, the [MTA] The designers made a mistake by not including cable duct replacement in the original scope of the contract,” the IG report reads.

The MTA, in its official response, said it follows the IG’s recommendations “when preparing new project management practices”.

“The consolidation of MTA’s capital program into MTA Construction & Development has enabled MTA to streamline its capital construction operations within a centralized agency,” MTA spokesman Mike Cortez said in a statement, “allowing for more direct lines of communication throughout the project scope to seek capital ensure projects are delivered faster, better and cheaper to maintain good condition and optimal service.”

https://nypost.com/2022/09/15/mistake-in-judgment-cost-mta-3m-on-signal-upgrade-project/ “Error of Judgment” Cost MTA $3M in Signal Upgrade Project


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