IF GOV. Paterson, Mayor Bloomberg and MTA Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger don't act fast, the Second Avenue Subway will wind up a fiasco like the Fulton Street Transit Center - but on a much grander scale.
The work on Second Avenue is already traumatizing stores, businesses and residents. Of course, the project is a truly worthy endeavor (unlike the Fulton scheme). If completed, it will justify the hardships.
But only if it gets done.
MENACE ON 2ND AVE
And - absent urgent and immediate attention from Albany and City Hall - the project will surely face a moment of truth like the MTA's recent admission that it can't finish the Fulton job, even at nearly twice the original estimated cost.
The MTA's capital-budget summary (released in February) farcically underbudgets all that work at $4.34 billion. And it takes only common sense to appreciate what a pittance that is.
The MTA says it needs $1.1 billion for the Fulton project - not to lay an inch of track, buy new subway cars or build new stations, but just to rearrange underground platforms and build a pedestrian tunnel to Ground Zero. And in all likelihood, $1.1 billion won't be enough, thanks to galloping building-trade inflation (as much as 5 percent, by some estimates).
By that light, it doesn't take an engineer or an accountant to grasp that $4.34 billion for the Second Avenue Subway Phase 1 is a joke.