MTA facing big budget overruns

The biggest cut involves the new Fulton Street subway station
January 30, 2008 8:05:14 AM PST
Potential cuts to major projects are on the agenda when the MTA board meets this morning. The agency is dealing with major cost overruns. Eyewitness News reporter Jamie Roth is live at MTA headquarters on the East Side.

MTA has some projects are on the chopping block today -- as the agency tries to reel in cost overruns amounting to millions and millions of dollars.

The MTA's budget ax is about to swing. The biggest cut involves the new Fulton Street subway station.

The original $750-million plan included a 5-story glass atrium billed as a "Downtown Grand Central" -- complete with stores and restaurants.

But the project is now more than $300 million over-budget.

The MTA says most of the money will be spent underground -- tying the station's 12 subway lines together and leaving only a street-level plaza above.

MTA officials blame increases on construction costs -- and say they will reassess all of their major projects over the next month.

That includes the extension of the number 7 line in Manhattan, the main remnant of the the Mayor's West Side stadium plan.

But he didn't seem too worried.

"I think the 7 extension is in good shape and will go ahead and that's the key to developing the whole west side," said Mayor Bloomberg.

Other big projects facing cuts include the Second Avenue subway - and the proposed LIRR connection to Grand Central.

"Once again, this just highlights the fact that we don't have any money to work on improving mass transit unless we find a new revenue source, and that's the whole concept behind congestion pricing," Bloomberg said.

The struggle to scale that will be discussed today at MTA's board meeting set for this morning.