MTA head: East Side Access is behind, but Second Ave. subway isn't
Two days after MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota acknowledged that federal officials correctly predicted the East Side Access project was over budget and behind schedule, he rejected theirs concerns about the Second Avenue subway.
Lhota admitted on Monday that the East Side Access project to bring Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central is three years behind schedule and nearly $1 billion over its budget - which the Federal Transit Administration agrees with. Federal officials had predicted cost and schedule overruns on the project for more than a year.
But on Wednesday, Lhota dismissed the FTA's projection that the Second Avenue subway won't be done until February 2018 - more than a year after the MTA says it will be open.
"Things are proceeding in the Second Avenue subway as we projected it a year or so ago," Lhota said after the agency's board meeting. "I'm very comfortable that we will be proceeding as planned."
Lhota has blamed previous MTA administrations for not addressing problems with the East Side Access earlier.
"They just postponed what they knew in 2009 until now," Lhota said Wednesday. "They were taking a risk."
Follow reporter Marc Beja on Twitter: @marc_beja