No surprise here that again the the MTA wasted our money – what more can we say about this corrupt wasteful entity that for years extracts, extorts and now illegally taxes our businesses? Note to MTA – clean house – run it like its your money on the line and not ours – run it like a business!
WHEN THIS FOLLY ENDS!
Surprise: The new Dey Street entrance for the Fulton Transit Center, to open this fall, won’t take you anywhere but to the subway station on the other side of Broadway — not to the R train’s Cortlandt Street station, as the MTA had promised for seven years.
At least not for a long time: The agency admitted this week that not enough people would use the new underground corridor, perhaps as few as five per hour, to justify opening the $200 million link.
Told you so — five, six and seven years ago. In the face of near-universal praise for the project, The Post warned repeatedly that anything that could go wrong, would — and so would things that seemingly couldn’t go wrong, like iron-clad federal funding.
In fact, $847 million in US dough was just fine — until it turned out to be not nearly enough, causing the MTA to pull the Fulton project’s plug in January 2008. By then, the agency had evicted scores of viable stores and businesses, tangled traffic on Broadway and made the old station’s mere inconveniences into a true horror show.
I wrote that the old station, although messy and confusing, was no more so than many other large subway stations, and could’ve easily and cheaply been fixed with better signs, lighting and maintenance.
Elected officials, bureaucrats and civic sages said The Post was nuts. The Fulton scheme would be finished on time by 2007 — oops, 2009! It would rescue hundreds of thousands of daily riders from the “nightmare” of navigating the “catacombs!”
The ease of walking underground from the Broadway-side lines to the R train at Church and Cortlandt streets was a big selling point. But in a city where above-ground walking’s a way of life, how critical was it that transit users be spared a single block’s surface stroll?
Now, the new corridor will be mothballed for years to come. The MTA fears the homeless would take it over.
Did it really take the MTA all this time to figure out that only a handful of riders routinely switch from the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J and Z platforms to the R? Nah — but to say so in 2004-5, when Gov. George Pataki and other pols kick-started the project, would’ve scuttled it.
How many other pieces of the “hub” — admittedly linking a half-dozen subway platforms better than they were — will similarly face the ax or more delays before the 2014 opening?
The rising new structure looks a lot better than the shabby buildings it replaced. No doubt the finished job will improve immensely on what was there before; $1.4 billion should buy something.
But there’s the homeless-camp worry. And how viable will 65,000 square feet of new retail space be when scores of large stores sit empty downtown?
The indefinite Dey Street corridor postponement is an overdue reality check on the whole Fulton folly — which is costing nearly twice the original $750 million budget. It was rescued only by an unexpected federal gift, a $424 million stimulus cookie from Washington. Had President Obama not flooded municipalities with taxpayer cash, the Fulton project would be where the MTA left it in 2008: dead.
Its rebirth seemed a miracle. But the finished work might well be less than that, and the Dey Street setback won’t be the last reminder of a boondoggle that could have been avoided.
- By STEVE CUOZZO
- Last Updated: 12:48 AM, October 2, 2012
- Posted: 11:13 PM, October 1, 2012