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November 12, 2008

Delays Temper Progress of MTA Capital Security Program

DiNapoli: Electronic Security Program Encounters New Challenges

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has made a number of important security improvements, but progress has been slow and the integrated electronic security program continues to experience problems. The first phase of the MTA’s capital security program is now expected to be completed in September 2011, three years later than the MTA’s original estimate and ten years after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, according to a report State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released today.

“With each completed security improvement, the MTA mass transit system is safer for commuters and better protected against attack, but delays continue and the program is falling further behind,” DiNapoli said. “The electronic security program, which accounts for a large share of the cost, is experiencing significant challenges.”

The DiNapoli report credits the MTA for successfully hardening 10 critical infrastructure facilities and establishing perimeter protection around three major transportation facilities. The report also notes security improvements the MTA has implemented through increased personnel, improved coordination with other security forces – such as NYPD, State Police, the National Guard, and federal agencies – and its successful “See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign.

The DiNapoli report found that capital program costs have grown 42 percent to an estimated $837 million from the original forecast of $591 million. The integrated electronic security program has grown to $453 million — an increase of $188 million, or 71 percent, due in large part to the inclusion of additional facilities. These estimates exclude $63 million in potential costs that may be reflected in future budget estimates.

The report also noted that:

  • While the MTA has completed 19 of 40 planned security improvements, or nearly 50 percent, and another 17 tasks are in construction, more than 60 percent were behind the schedules established at the time the construction contracts were awarded, including 14 tasks that were behind by at least seven months; and
  • The integrated electronic security program has encountered serious problems, which has created delays, increased costs, and reduced the planned functionality. An important element of the intelligent video program will not be advanced because of difficulties tailoring the software to conditions in the MTA environment. In addition, of the 1,400 software elements tested in April 2008, 400 failed. The electronic security program was scheduled for completion in August 2008, but the MTA now expects to achieve only limited functionality beginning in early 2009. Full functionality is scheduled for December 2009, but that date may be overly optimistic given the challenges that still need to be overcome.

Click here for a copy of the report.


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