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East Side Access project over budget and late

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Philip Newman

The already long awaited day that Long Island Rail Road trains finally pull into Grand Central Terminal has crept even further into the future along with a higher price tag.

Craig Stewart, senior director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Projects Plan, said the massive project is again over budget and once more running late.

In remarks before an MTA committee Monday, Stewart said the cost of the East Side Access, now estimated at $8.3 billion,“ could cost more” and he expressed doubt the latest completion date could be met.

The East Side Access was originally estimated to be a $4.3 billion project with a completion date of 2009. The latest date for the trains to start rolling underneath the East River had been 2019.

The nation’s largest construction project, the East Side access is expected to save 80,000 LIRR commuters 40 minutes of travel time daily, meaning they would avoid taking other modes of transportation to get to jobs on Manhattan’s East Side from Penn Station.

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