Thursday, March 17, 2011

Progress Report: The MTA Capital Security Program - New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli

Improvements Made Despite Delays and Cost Overruns

Despite significant delays and unplanned costs, the MTA has greatly improved its security through capital improvements, operational initiatives and enhanced cooperation with other security agencies, according to a report released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“The capital security program the MTA has implemented since 9-11 has made New Yorkers more secure,” said DiNapoli. “The MTA has made progress, particularly in the last two years. But the mass transit system is still inherently vulnerable. Individual projects in this program are months if not years behind schedule and well over budget, and additional capital improvements are needed. My office will continue to track MTA management of this program.”

The projects in Phase 1 of the MTA’s capital security program target the system’s most vulnerable and heavily used assets, including stations, transit hubs, bridges and tunnels. Each project involves one or more facilities and security improvements to elements such as electronic security and surveillance, fire, life and safety and evacuation enhancements, perimeter protection and structural hardening. This phase, originally scheduled for completion by September 2008, will not be completed until June 2012.

After more than nine years, the MTA has completed 11 of the original 16 security projects as well as elements of the five remaining projects. The MTA has hardened all 14 facilities planned for Phase 1; improved lighting, communication systems, and smoke and fire detection equipment in 15 facilities; installed perimeter protection around four facilities; and despite significant setbacks, the electronic security program.

As of December 2010, the MTA had completed 31 of 38 planned construction tasks and the remaining seven tasks were all in the process of construction, though more than 60 percent of the 38 tasks were behind their established schedules, including 11 that were behind by more than one year (five tasks were more than 30 months late). The cost of Phase 1 (including two facilities that were deferred from Phase 1 to Phase 2) has grown from $591 million to $851 million, an increase of 44 percent.

Electronic security projects in particular have encountered significant problems. The cost of this program has nearly doubled, growing from $265 million to $515 million. The MTA has continued work on the electronic security program by hiring other contractors, but full implementation is not scheduled to be completed until June 2011. A lawsuit between the MTA and Lockheed Martin, the original contractor responsible for the electronic security program, is still ongoing.
The MTA has also implemented a number of operational initiatives that have improved the system’s safety: security personnel have been increased, coordination with other security agencies has been enhanced and the MTA has implemented a public relations campaign to encourage the public to report suspicious activity.

The Comptroller noted that additional capital improvements are needed to improve overall security. Phase 2 will fund some of the remaining 33 security projects of the original 57 that were identified through a risk-based assessment. However, the MTA will not begin work on the remaining 16 projects until the scope is determined and funding becomes available.

Comptroller DiNapoli maintains a comprehensive approach to oversight of the MTA. Since 2007, DiNapoli has issued 27 reports on the MTA, including 14 audit reports and 13 reports examining MTA finances and operations. There are currently eight audits underway in various stages of completion, including a forensic audit of MTA use of overtime and one audit that is being performed jointly with the New York City Comptroller’s Office.

Click here for the report:


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