By Larry Penner
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal creating the New York State Design and Construction Corporation to provide oversight for all Metropolitan Transportation Authority capital projects worth $50 million or more is redundant.
On a yearly basis, the United States Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration provides over $1 billion in capital grants to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The MTA currently manages an active portfolio of federally funded capital improvement projects and programs in open grants worth over $21 billion that utilize over $10 billion in direct USDOT FTA financial assistance.
Both the MTA and USDOT FTA have independent engineering consultant firms to supplement in house staff for oversight. These companies provide both oversight and technical assistance for capital projects. Engineering firms which monitor the progress of major capital projects prepare monthly progress reports.
As part of master grant agreements, the MTA provides updated Quarterly Financial and Milestone Progress Reports to USDOT FTA on billions worth of active capital improvement projects and programs.
New York State Comptroller Tom Di Napoli, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, the NYC Office of Management and Budget and NYC Independent Budget Office all perform periodic audits of MTA projects and programs as does the United States Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.
Gov. Cuomo would be better off using funds intended to create the New York State Design and Construction Corporation as a down payment against the $7.3 billion he still owes the MTA toward fully funding the $28 billion 2015-2019 Five Year Capital Program.