The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth

  • 6 years ago
The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth
In New York, “underground construction employs approximately four times the number of personnel as in similar jobs in Asia, Australia, or Europe,” according to an internal report by Arup, a consulting firm
that worked on the Second Avenue subway and many similar projects around the world.
“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.
“I’m not anti-union at all, but it’s amazing how much they dictate everything
that happens on a job in New York,” said Jim Peregoy, a Missouri-based cost estimator who has worked on 240 projects in 27 states, including the Second Avenue subway.
“If we have three or four times as many workers, how can the percentage for soft costs be so high?”
Soft costs for East Side Access are expected to exceed $2 billion.
The estimated cost of the Long Island Rail Road project, known as “East Side Access,” has ballooned to $12 billion,
or nearly $3.5 billion for each new mile of track — seven times the average elsewhere in the world.
He said in a letter, “There are unique challenges that contribute to high construction costs in New York City in general, and for M. T.A.
“In New York, you get two or three, and they know that, so they’ll inflate their bids if they think they can get away with it.”
One of the most important contracts in recent years, for the construction of the Second Avenue tunnel, got just two bids.