Post 9/11 Security Upgrade to NYC Transit Lags

A new report says the first phase of the NY MTA’s security upgrade after 9/11 won’t be done for another two years, and that cost keeps rising.

NY State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says more than 3,000 cameras are already in place at transit hubs and in bridges and tunnels across the region. What’s missing is the authority’s ability to monitor some of them, and to communicate efficiently with the police and fire departments. Another problem is that communications rooms in the subway are prone to overheating.

The work was supposed to be done in 2008, but the comptroller is pushing that date back to 2014. The final budget is expected to be $882 million — nearly $300 million more than originally estimated.

Getting seven command centers up and running has cost more than expected. The price could rise another $150 million if the NY MTA loses a court fight with Lockheed Martin, the project’s original contractor.

The authority says the company reneged on its contract. Lockheed Martin says the MTA didn’t give it enough access to tunnels and other locations to get the work done.

The authority asserts that steady progress on its security upgrade has been made and that they’ve finished reinforcing 17 bridges, tunnels and train stations against terrorist explosions.

“We agree with the comptroller’s assessment that the system is more secure and the public better protected as a result of the security investments that we have made,” MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said. “The report’s conclusion is that the biggest obstacle going forward is funding, and we don’t disagree.”