Saturday, December 30, 2017

Why we can't get any major MTA projects done

Great expose in the NY Times:

An accountant discovered the discrepancy while reviewing the budget for new train platforms under Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan.

The budget showed that 900 workers were being paid to dig caverns for the platforms as part of a 3.5-mile tunnel connecting the historic station to the Long Island Rail Road. But the accountant could only identify about 700 jobs that needed to be done, according to three project supervisors. Officials could not find any reason for the other 200 people to be there.

“Nobody knew what those people were doing, if they were doing anything,” said Michael Horodniceanu, who was then the head of construction at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs transit in New York. The workers were laid off, Mr. Horodniceanu said, but no one figured out how long they had been employed. “All we knew is they were each being paid about $1,000 every day.”

The discovery, which occurred in 2010 and was not disclosed to the public, illustrates one of the main issues that has helped lead to the increasing delays now tormenting millions of subway riders every day: The leaders entrusted to expand New York’s regional transit network have paid the highest construction costs in the world, spending billions of dollars that could have been used to fix existing subway tunnels, tracks, trains and signals.

38 comments:

JQ LLC said...

Reading this was enraging. The MTA engages in the same political patronage bullshit as the most reprehensible corporations currently buying influence and in Washington D.C. Especially with the poaching of former transit officials that arranged these rotten deals. The contractors assigned for exorbitant costs are not being diligently scrutinized. And the result is the worst fucking transit system in the universe.

So much money and manpower to build a few miles of track at expense of the commuters livelihoods and sanity.

During this supposed holiday week which includes the cartoonish collision of two service trains on a line I frequent (well used to) that is part of the money squandering budget for urgent upgrades (maybe this happened under duress for it's completion to coincide with New Years Eve), I and others have been inconvenienced by more signal problems and express train rerouting to local.

The last 2 days have been the worst I witnessed. A dangerously overcrowded platform at Fulton St. caused me to miss my train. Vocalizing my rage for being unable to board, a conductor laughed behind my back. When I confronted the shithead, he just kept guffawing when I told him that he worked for the worst transit system in the nation, the world and the universe and how he thought that was funny and he just kept laughing, the son of a bitch seemingly was trying to provoke a violent response, because if he wasn't in that booth he would get his ass kicked, but it's a felony and 7 years time if you even spit on one of these workers.

Yesterday, an F train abruptly halted and didn't move for 15 minutes, which inspired some young stupid men to hop off in the middle of the car to the platform. When I counted to five, the last one, a hipshit mind you, was dangling on those metal thingies and as he jumped off the train started moving and his kiddie backpack got caught somehow and was being dragged on the platform, causing the train to stop short again. After repeatedly assuring commuters for 10 consecutive minutes that the train will be moving shortly, they put it out of service. So much for more honesty from the MTA.

And also there is that elevator still dormant on Lefferts Blvd., as elderly and disabled people, mothers with strollers and a frail woman carry a small shopping cart with items walk up a step at a time. That thing is taking four years, and the so-called soft work of modernizing the station is still far from over.

The last three may be personal gripes of being inconvenienced, but this is the blowback of the massive fund wasting bureaucracy and contractor graft that has engulfed the transit system enabled by the state. With workers blatantly laughing in your face and people turning commuting into a lord of the flies type of survival test. And it's apparently and definitely going to get worse and worse

The Times should get a Pulitzer for this. It's great and encouraging to see solid thorough local reporting again.

Res Ipsa said...

There should be no talk of congestion pricing while this waste of billions is unaccounted for. Why should taxpayers give this corrupt cesspool any more money?

georgetheatheist said...

But crime is down.

BTW, the Greatest Caller ever to Talk Radio - Frank of Queens - on last night's The Right Perspective internet radio show (broadcast every Friday night starting at 8PM) - highlighted excerpts from this Times article as well...

AND ...

postulated a quite interesting theory as to why crime is down: because whites are moving back into the formally crime-ridden nabes.

Anonymous said...

@georgetheatheist said...
George how are you listening to The Right Perspective ?

Res Ipsa said...

postulated a quite interesting theory as to why crime is down: because whites are moving back into the formally crime-ridden nabes.

Then shouldn't the crime just be moving to other places and following the displaced people? Crime is down in NYC as a whole, and across the nation. Even Chicago had fewer murders this year.

Joe Moretti said...

Another excellent piece of journalism by the Times. They also did a great piece back in November on this subject:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/18/nyregion/new-york-subway-system-failure-delays.html

Again, will make your blood boil and wonder why some of us stay in New York at all.

Anonymous said...

Is crime really down? We hear of shooting, robberies, muggings, etc on a daily basis. Who does the crime stats? The MTA???

Queens Crapper said...

Res Ipsa, here is the article about crime going down.

Anonymous said...

C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-N.

JQ LLC said...

Murders are down, but crimes like sexual assault, rape and robberies are up.

Mark said...


Racist people always find a way to blame it on race.

Maybe crime is down because there are better jobs, because there are cameras everywhere , because police scan license plates everywhere...Seriously, there are other reasons that make more sense

>> georgetheatheist said..

>>postulated a quite interesting theory as to why crime is down: because whites are moving back into the formally crime-ridden nabes.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't trust the Times any more than I would trust CNN. I truly believe that everything that comes from them is in some way shaped by their advertisers (and REBNY).

It all boils down to breaking unions on behalf of big business.

Izayoi said...

Funny how the news networks that report all these muggings, shootings and robberies on a daily basis also claim that crime here is at an all time low.

Joe Moretti said...

Anonymous Res Ipsa said...

postulated a quite interesting theory as to why crime is down: because whites are moving back into the formally crime-ridden nabes.

Then shouldn't the crime just be moving to other places and following the displaced people? Crime is down in NYC as a whole, and across the nation. Even Chicago had fewer murders this year.

---------------------------

This theory makes total sense, since crime has always been low in predominately white areas (Forest Hills or Park Slope) and high in black areas (Jamaica & East New York). BUT crime is not moving to other areas because of displaced people from said areas, because not all black people in those areas are displaced (you do know that many black people actually own homes) nor criminals and the people who are being displaced are not going into just one neighborhood since there are not as many run down areas as there once where, so these displaced people are being scattered all over (and of out New York altogether) as opposed to being all plopped down in one area as what happened to Jamaica in the 60's, 70's and 80's and other areas of Brooklyn, when the "white flight" took place.

And while Chicago murder is slightly down, it is still VERY HIGH, so that is not a good analogy. It is slightly down due to aggressive policing in high crime areas, but the murder and shooting rate is still extremely high as it is in Baltimore.

BUT you will never hear any so-called leaders state this here in NYC, because I guess that would be "racists" as opposed to what it really is, TRUTH & FACTS. The fact that the majority of crime and the majority of victims of crimes are black just goes to prove that crime is much higher in black communities, no matter what the underlying cause is. Same goes with the prison population in NYC. And while one can say poverty and being in a low-income bracket can bring about this (and it does), you do not see this type of high crime rate in some other lower income ethnic groups.

This has been an issue in not the black community, but more in the the African-American community for some time but no one really wants to touch that and instead ignores or places blame elsewhere.

Tommy Efreeti said...

Precinct data can generally be trusted. Used to be, Precinct Captains would come under political pressure to massage numbers, but since the days of COMPSTAT it is as reliable if not more so than any second-hand-reported source. Use it and look for yourself. Or dat spotcrime website. Or, most reliable of all - neighbors with lots of free time (sometimes I'm wonna dem!)

Depending on nomenclature and how the cop chooses to phrase it, sometimes you might get a serious crime called something lesser, but I haven't ever read of any issues with that. So, how did this get so off topic? Somebody mentioned Forest Hills above - nobody with two cents to rub together ever figured out that experienced robbers/burglars, get this, know HOW TO USE TRANSPORTATION? Them hoitytoits in Forest Hills figured that real fast a couple of summers ago after a rash of daytime home burglaries - turns out they were leaving their homes unlocked. You do that more than once or twice, and you're not old or something, you really do deserve to get kicked outta NYC.

Anyhow..allow me to humbly rag on the fact that the MTA's fucking FULL of lazy shits who get paid to sleep 6 hours and work for fifteen minutes. This is verbatim what wonna dem hisself told me about a decade ago, and I don't think anything's changed.

Liman said...

There's nothing in here that is the slightest bit surprising. They toned down the fact that the Building Trades unions OWN Albany. They have gotten laws passed that force the government to pay "union rates" (That $111/hr is no surprise, lots of trades go in to the $80, $90 or higher range). They do this by the statutory "finding" that the union rates are the "prevailing" rates for this work. You can look up "prevailing" all day and won't find a definition of the word that means "highest in the world." Now the govt. doesn't have to award the jobs to union companies. In fact, they have to give it to the lowest responsible bidder. Great. Except the unions got this reworded so that in most every case there's a technical obligation to establishing that you're a "responsible" bidder that only union companies can meet. But even when the odd non-union contractor wins the bid, it STILL has to pay union rates - remember those are "prevailing" rates! The only benefit is that a non-union contractor isn't going to be bound by union rules and practices limiting output. But it will still be the most expensive work in the world. There's lots more... but I'm sick of it.

Res Ipsa said...

Crappy- thanks for the link. I think it raises more questions though. Manhattan Institute speaks of gentrification in terms of percentages, and while the variations sound significant---over 15 years, the number of white residents in Bed Stuy increased 1,235%, for example--- it's hard to say what that means without looking at the raw numbers. Were there 10 white residents and now 123? Even then, the black population only declined by 17% in that area over the same time. How many people is that actually? Neither of those changes seem to be enough to draw conclusions about gentrification as the sole cause of crime reduction without more information. Further,about 6 paragraphs in, the author grudgingly acknowledges some reasons for the crime reduction in NYC that have nothing to do with gentrification. "In New York, however, informal social controls are now supplementing if not supplanting formal police control in formerly high-crime areas. That is the ideal world."

I never thought that NY would be considered the ideal world, but there it is.


Anonymous said...

What do you mean? You can report the crimes and still have a decreasing crime rate . It would only be funny if the news reported “ 0% crime” then had a story on a crime that just happen .

Izayoi said...
Funny how the news networks that report all these muggings, shootings and robberies on a daily basis also claim that crime here is at an all time low.

JQ LLC said...

"I wouldn't trust the Times any more than I would trust CNN. I truly believe that everything that comes from them is in some way shaped by their advertisers (and REBNY)."

"It all boils down to breaking unions on behalf of big business."

Anonymous might have a point.

https://theintercept.com/2017/12/29/new-ny-times-publisher-a-g-sulzberger-has-an-unusual-admirer-wisconsins-far-right-governor-scott-walker/

georgetheatheist said...

Listen yourself to Frank of Queens - the Greatest Caller Ever to Talk Radio - formulate brilliantly the theory that the NYC crime rate is down because of the return of white people to formerly crime-ridden areas.

Check it out on last night's The Right Perspective (TRP Show Podcast, Friday, 12/29). Left click at bottom of link and start listening at 1:11:18 HERE.

Will deBlasio TRUMPET this? You, my friends, know the answer.

Also check out Frank of Queens' unique analysis of the Crapper-referenced Times subway boondoggle at 1:02:53.

If you have the time, give the entire show a listen. Well worth your attention.

Anonymous said...

predominately white areas (Forest Hills or Park Slope)

Hahahaha, Forest Hills? you are living in the past, is a melting pot now.

Anonymous said...

CNN, MSNBC, NY Times, Washington Post - all fake news.
Directed by the CIA.

Joe Moretti said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

predominately white areas (Forest Hills or Park Slope)

Hahahaha, Forest Hills? you are living in the past, is a melting pot now.
-----------------------

Do you ever actually read or even look at communities. Do you even understand math. You are living in unreality like too many.


Ethnicity (Forest Hills)

• White 59.58%
• Asian 23.7%
• Hispanic 12.03%
• Black 3.73%

Ethnicity (Park Slope)

White 70%
Hispanic 14%
Asian 7%
Black 5%
Mixed 4%

Anonymous said...

@georgetheatheist said... Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

Please stay on topic people !

Among other debacles in the MTA I learned that they are paying a 140 Million Dollar Fine due to a project that has not been finished on time.

So when you want to know why the fare is being raised it is because they have to raise money for FINES because they have people working in administration that are very poor planners and have absolutely no insight or hindsight as to how to figure the timing on anything they're doing. Why you ask - because their administrative offices hire idiots that are number crunchers and Excel experts rather than individuals that have enough intelligence to see the forest through the trees!

Anonymous said...

Basically Tom hit the nail on the head " the MTA's fucking FULL of lazy shits who get paid to sleep 6 hours and work for fifteen minutes." The union protects them so why do a good days work when they don't have to. The unions own Albany. The building union also. We desperately need upgrades to our transportation infrastructure. They are happening, but at a slow rate. Here in Queens, the disruptions on the N train are hurting the local businesses as the work plods on. So while the author of this article speculates and navel gazes about demographics and statistics, the working men and women of this city wait for better transportation so they might get to work on time so they can keep a roof over their head, food on the table, and try to give their kids a future. Mr. Lhota, are you listening?

Anonymous said...

@Joe Moretti

I live in the community buddy. Take the math and shove it.

Joe Moretti said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Joe Moretti

I live in the community buddy. Take the math and shove it.

------------------
AND so do I asshole anonymous, not that one needs to live there to actually know facts. But why let math, science and facts get in the way of your bullshit in the Trump era. I guess the earth you live on is flat, global warming is a hoax, 1+1=3 and Elvis and JFK are still alive. Congratulations, you are now qualified to be part of Trump's administration.

I would say take your bullshit and shove it, but it would it smash your brains.

And as far as the topic goes, YES, the MTA, the leadership and the elected officials completely suck and help make this shitty city even more shitty.

Gary W said...

I love this thread.

Can we have a QC meet up?

Anonymous said...

@Gary W said...
Only if I can sit at the table with the best of Queens Crap !
1.Joe Moretti said...
2.georgetheatheist said...
3.Tommy Efreeti said.../with the Monkey
4.JQ LLC said...
5. Ned said...
6. sarc said...

JQ LLC said...

Thanks for the compliments, cheers.

Anonymous said...

But why let math, science and facts get in the way of your bullshit in the Trump era. I guess the earth you live on is flat, global warming is a hoax, 1+1=3 and Elvis and JFK are still alive. Congratulations, you are now qualified to be part of Trump's administration

And you are calling other people names asshole? You are dumb as a rock.
Is 8F outside, DNC is a bunch of criminals, yes global warming - climate change is a hoax and the Trimp administration is great, much better then the CIA cutout Barry Obongo's.
Go f yourself in any which way possible you dumb leftist communist pig.

Anonymous said...

I know a lot of you QC readers are cynical, but you've got to give the NYTimes props on this story. It was well-researched, in depth, countered the weak claims from the obfuscatory perpetrators, and quite damning.

SickoftheBS said...

Price does not equal quality, people need to figure this out, NYC is one of the most wasteful cities on Earth. I visited places in the developing world that have superior infrastructure and built for a fraction of the cost of what we got here in NYC.
If you live in this city prepare to bend over and spread your butt cheeks wide because living here is the same as getting it the rear end in an S and M club.

Anonymous said...

Only if I can sit at the table with the best of Queens Crap !
1.Joe Moretti said...
2.georgetheatheist said...
3.Tommy Efreeti said.../with the Monkey
4.JQ LLC said...
5. Ned said...
6. sarc said...
---------------------------------------------------------------
One could only wish these "knights" could sit at a round table and run the city. In days, weeks so many things would be straightened out. So may whistles blown and smashed to pieces, laws enforced, even law respecting citizens allowed to have guns. Its a known fact when criminals dont know whose armed and whose NOT they relocate quickly. Add loss of "sanctuary" and slaps on the wrists for other crimes and construction issues.
It be an instantaneous of quality of life improvement.

Anonymous said...

The "Knights" of Queens Crap ! Love it...

Anonymous said...

>Can we have a QC meet up?

How can we do that and still be Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Unions!