To the editor:
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal creating the New York State Design and Construction Corporation to provide oversight for all Metropolitan Transportation Authority capital projects worth $50 million or more is redundant. On a yearly basis, the United States Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration provides over $1 billion in capital grants to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The MTA currently manages an active portfolio of federally funded capital improvement projects and programs in open grants worth over $21 billion that utilize over $10 billion in direct USDOT FTA financial assistance.
Both the MTA and USDOT FTA have independent engineering consultant firms to supplement in house staff for oversight. These companies provide both oversight and technical assistance for capital projects. Engineering firms which monitor the progress of major capital projects prepare monthly progress reports. They are made available to MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast, MTA HQ staff, MTA Board members (including four directly appointed by Cuomo), MTA Agency Presidents including Capital Construction Michael Horodniceanu, New York City Transit Veronique Hakim, Long Island Rail Road Patrick Nowakowski, Metro North Rail Road Joseph Giulietti, MTA Bus Darryl Irick, each MTA agency Chief Engineer, USDOT FTA HQ & Regional Office senior management teams and in house project oversight staff.
As part of master grant agreements, the MTA provides updated Quarterly Financial and Milestone Progress Reports to USDOT FTA on billions worth of active capital improvement projects and programs.
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, NYC Office of Management and Budget and NYC Independent Budget Office all perform periodic audits of MTA projects and programs.
Untied States Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, NYS OIG, NYC OIG and the MTA OIG all perform periodic audits of MTA projects and programs.
Governor Cuomo would be better off using funds intended to create the New York State Design and Construction Corporation as a down payment against the $7.3 billion he still owes the MTA toward fully funding the $28 billion 2015 – 2019 Five Year Capital Program.
Larry Penner, Great Neck
Penner is a transportation historian and advocate who
previously worked in the transportation field for 31 years.