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New York MTA seeks ways to control construction costs


Soaring construction costs are hitting transit agencies hard, and New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is no exception. With a $30 billion 2008-2013 capital program on the table, authority officials know they need to try and curb some of the costs.

Yesterday, the MTA Blue Ribbon Panel for Construction Excellence released a final report that includes recommendations for controlling construction costs. Formed in March 2007 by MTA Executive Director Elliot Sander, the 24-member panel includes MTA board members and staff, as well as architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors and labor representatives.

Since 2003, the price of steel has spiked 91 percent, asphalt costs have soared 85 percent and cement prices have increased 25 percent. The “overheated” New York construction market is not expected to peak until 2010 or 2011, according to the panel.

In the meantime, the panel recommended six action areas and presented white papers on each: bonding considerations for large projects; project delivery options; manpower, materials and logistics; opportunities to improve competition; improving planning and implementation; and project/budget management.

MTA officials now will analyze each of the recommendations and prepare an implementation plan.

The authority already has implemented some short-term fixes. The MTA Capital Construction department used bonding for the first contract on the #7 subway line project and MTA is working to increase small contractor participation.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/29/2008