Post 9/11 Security Upgrade To NYC Transit Lags

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(New York, NY - WNYC) 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 the 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. 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 communications rooms in the subway have been prone to overheat.

The work was supposed to be done in 2008 but a new report by the comptroller is pushing that date back to 2014. (Only last year, the comptroller said Phase 1 would be finished this year.) The final budget is expected to be $882 million dollars--nearly $300 million more than originally estimated.

It's costing more than expected to get seven command centers up and running. And 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 NY MTA didn't give it enough access to tunnels and other locations to get the work done.

The NY MTA says 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," said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan. "The report's conclusion is that the biggest obstacle going forward is funding, and we don't disagree."