Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Andrew Cuomo

What Went Wrong With Second Avenue Subway Construction? The MTA Doesn’t Want You to Know.

The MTA doesn’t want you to know what’s behind these numbers. Image: RPA

MTA capital construction costs are higher than those of any other comparable transit system on the planet. Upgrading the subway system and building expansion projects hinges on wresting these exorbitant costs under control.

At the end of last year, the Times published an expose by Brian Rosenthal detailing the sources of MTA construction bloat -- the no-show jobs, poor oversight of contracting, and lavish spending on consultants that enrich favored firms while depriving New York of the transit system it needs.

While MTA board members are making noise about better contracting, and reporters continue to connect the dots between Governor Cuomo's campaign donors and his mismanagement of the MTA, not much has changed since Rosenthal's story dropped.

An agency that spent a world-beating $1.3 billion per mile to build the Second Avenue Subway might want to enlist all the help it can get to bring costs down. But that's not how the MTA operates. When the New York Times filed a freedom of information request for Second Avenue Subway contractor evaluations, the MTA declined:

https://twitter.com/brianmrosenthal/status/1022134442893225984?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

What makes the MTA's refusal all the more galling is that even if you accept the excuse about "opinions and evaluations," the agency should have released the documents with redactions, instead of hiding them all.

"They're flouting law," Rosenthal tweeted, "which allows withholding a record only if it'll impair an imminent contract award."

Hopefully the Times takes the MTA to court, where the agency may delay but won't be able to keep these documents out of public view forever.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

SUV Driver Kills Girl, 3, in Harlem, Wounds Mom And Young Brothers

The girl's death marks another grim entry into a crisis of pedestrian traffic deaths this year.

July 12, 2024

Moped and E-Bike Safety Legislation Becomes State Law

Retailers must register mopeds at the point of sale, in addition to giving new owners safety information, under new legislation signed by Gov. Hochul on Thursday.

July 12, 2024

Roadway Dining May See Dramatic Decline Under Eric Adams As Deadline Looms

Fewer than two dozen restaurants are in the pipeline for roadside seating, according to public records.

July 12, 2024

Opinion: Congestion Pricing Is A Compromise

Alternatives paths to cut congestion and pollution and fund the MTA make congestion tolls look like a cheap parlor trick.

July 12, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: Department of Victim Blaming Edition

Traffic deaths in the city are on pace to reach their highest number since at least 2013 — and DOT is reportedly blaming "jaywalking." Plus more news.

July 12, 2024
See all posts