Triboro Rail Will Never Leave the Station
by Larry Penner
Jun 28, 2016 | 8308 views | 1 1 comments | 211 211 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There is more to the Regional Planning Association's recent updated release of an old proposal for construction of the Triboro Bronx-Queens-Brooklyn rail service.

Just how did the RPA come up with a potential cost of $1 to $2 billion My experiences of over 31 years in the transportation industry tell me it could easily cost several billion more.

Any proposed extension of the route from Bay Ridge to Staten Island would require construction of a tunnel and additional terminal station at the St. George Staten Island Ferry Terminal and adjacent Staten Island Rapid Transit station. This additional work could easily cost $5 billion.

There are no dollars programmed to support any work for advancement of this project in the MTA's recently approved$27 billion Five Year 2015-2019 Capital Plan. The same is true for New York City's 2017 municipal budget.

Other than the Regional Planning Association updated briefing paper, there have been no feasibility studies, environmental documents or preliminary design and engineering efforts necessary to validate any basic estimates for construction costs of the "X" line.

These would have to be refined as progress proceeds beyond the planning and environmental phases into real and final design efforts. Value engineering, a process used to reduce costs, would have to be used during the final design phase.

Unfortunately, history has shown that estimated costs for construction usually trend upward as projects mature toward 100 percent final design. Progression of final design refines the detailed scope of work necessary to support construction.

The proposed revised Triboro X route starting from Co-Op City connecting the Bronx with Queens and terminating in Bay Ridge will traverse dozens of neighborhoods impacting several hundred thousand people living nearby.

How will they react to potential noise and visual impacts of a new elevated train? There are serious legal and operational issues to be resolved with the Federal Rail Road Administration. They have regulatory jurisdiction over significant portions of the proposed route which would run adjacent to existing active freight tracks. Subway and freight trains have to coexist on the same narrow corridor.

There is also a potential serious conflict at the Bay Ridge terminus. This is also a potential site for a connection to the proposed Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel.

History has told us that construction of most major new transportation system expansion projects have taken decades.

There is not enough space here to list the many other transportation projects in the city whose costs range from $50 million to $6 billion that might be considered a higher priority than the "Triboro X" line.

Larry Penner worked 31 years for the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration.
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Pedro Valdez Rivera
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July 08, 2016
I agree Larry: And besides, we have to wait until 2019 for the next MTA Capital Plan to find out the possible funding sources and costs. In the cost of doing construction business in NYC, everything goes up.