The MTA’s construction chief admitted Tuesday that the embattled transit authority does not know why it costs billions of dollars more to build a subway in New York than other major cities.
“We have to collect data,” Janno Lieber, the president of the MTA’s Capital Construction Division, told state lawmakers at a legislative hearing on the agency’s new $51.1 billion capital plan.
“You’ve heard a lot of data about how much it costs in different places,” he said.
Lieber was referring to the widely reported and glaring discrepancy in costs to subway miles across the globe.
The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, for example, cost $2.7 billion per mile. A forthcoming 1.5-mile extension will run $3.8 billion per mile.
In Los Angeles, officials plan to spend $1.1 billion per mile on a 2.6-mile-long subway extension.
And in Paris, an upcoming subway project to construct 3.7 miles of new subway will run the city just over $1.4 billion — or roughly $400 million per mile.
Lieber defended the discrepancy by saying, “It’s never been clear about what’s included in some of those costs.”
The construction chief said the MTA is reaching out to international agencies to try to get a grasp what their costs are comprised of.
“Does the costs that were being given include soft costs? Does it include real estate costs? Is it apples to apples?” he questioned.
Costs for the MTA’s capital projects, which have been the repeated subject of newspaper exposes, have been astronomical.
The Second Avenue Subway is the most expensive underground train line in history with a $6 billion price tag.
The East Side Access project connecting Grand Central to the Long Island Railroad will cost upwards of $11 billion.
It’s unclear if the MTA will formally study the issue.
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