MTA Chair Wishes He Could Downsize New Transit Hub

The head of the MTA says that if he had to do the Fulton Street Transit Center all over again, he might have opted for a less expensive design.

Speaking on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, Lee Sander defended his decision to direct half a billion dollars from the federal stimulus package to finish the downtown transit hub.

SANDER: Basically the project is three quarters done and we have to finish the project. and so if we went backwards, if it made sense to do something perhaps less dramatic probably so.

REPORTER: The transit hub, located at Broadway and Fulton Street, was supposed to cost $750 million. A year ago, as the cost almost doubled, the MTA considered redesigning the above-ground pavilion, consisting of a five-story glass box.

Sander says the federal money will allow most of the original design to go forward, although he has not decided whether the 140-foot glass cone, called an oculus, will be a part of the finished product.

Construction on the below-ground portion of the transit center began four years ago. The pavilion is expected to be finished by late 2012 or early 2013.