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Report: LIRR East Side Access Project To Cost Twice As Much As Original Estimate

Comptroller's Report Finds Project Also A Decade Behind Schedule
East Side Access construction crews conduct dry shotcrete application in westbound assembly chamber Feb. 27, 2013 (credit: MTA Flickr)

East Side Access construction crews conduct dry shotcrete application in westbound assembly chamber Feb. 27, 2013 (credit: MTA Flickr)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The MTA project to bring Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central Terminal is well behind schedule and way over budget, according to a report from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released on Wednesday.

According to the new report, the East Side Access project is now estimated to cost nearly $9 billion when it is finished in 2019.

The project is $4.4 billion over budget, DiNapoli said.

East Side Access is the largest public transportation project in the country and marks the first expansion of the LIRR in more than a century.

Service was expected to begin in 2009 with a price tag of $4.3 billion, according to the MTA.

“Time and again, the MTA has come up short on the goal to deliver the East Side Access project on schedule and within budget,” DiNapoli said. “While this project is an important addition to the regional mass transit system serving New York City and Long Island, taxpayers will have to bear the brunt of these unanticipated costs. There must be lessons learned at the MTA from this experience as they move forward with their capital program.”

WEB EXTRA: Read The Comptroller’s Report On East Side Access (pdf)

Planning for the project began in the late 1990s. Some of the additional costs will go toward purchasing new train cars for the line.

Once complete, East Side Access will serve roughly 160,000 riders each day and cut down commute times by up to 40 minutes, according to officials.

A new LIRR terminal is being constructed below Grand Central. DiNapoli noted the project is not even halfway finished, though the major tunneling has been completed.

When East Side Access is complete, the perks will include extra trains at Grand Central and a new LIRR train station in Sunnyside.

The MTA has declined to comment on DiNapoli’s report, but has previously cited the design, unforeseen construction challenges and other factors for the higher cost estimate.

For more information about the project, click here.

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