"Rally for MTA accountability" (Meghan Sackman - May 10) starts at the top.
Consider the recent announcement that $936 million for the subway station renovation program will be reduced. Turns out, due to unforeseen site conditions, there is only sufficient funding to complete work at 19 of 32 stations originally scheduled for work under the MTA $32 billion Five-Year Capital Plan.
According to a previous 2016 Citizens Budget Commission report, it would have taken 51 years for all 471 subway stations to reach a state of good repair.
It was very disappointing that MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said that he was aware of the increased costs last year, which resulted in the reduction for the number of stations to be repaired, but he chose not to mention this until a few weeks ago.
So much for transparency in management of the MTA's $32 billion Five-Year Capital Plan. This damages the MTA's credibility with transit riders, taxpayers, transit advocacy groups, MTA board members and elected officials.
It also doesn't help make the case for more financial assistance from City Hall, Albany and Washington. How detailed, accurate and up to date is the information provided to City Hall, Albany and the Federal Transit Administration for ongoing capital projects and programs?
Are there other capital projects and programs that are also suffering budget increases or cost overruns that have resulted in a reduction from the original promised scope of work?
It is one of the oldest tricks in the book for MTA project managers to keep within the assigned project budget by reducing the scope of work. No one within the MTA likes to ask for more money to support completion of any project they are assigned to manage.
It is easier to complete a project within budget by just reducing the work that was originally promised.