Another delay for completion of the Long Island Rail Road’s $734 million procurement of 202 new M9 train cars is nothing new.
When has there ever been any MTA LIRR, Metro North or NYC Transit Federal Transit Administration or locally funded commuter rail or subway car procurement completed on time, within budget and without contract change orders?
Ongoing problems with this purchase have continued for years. Who can guarantee that the vendor will meet this latest project recovery schedule’s December 2023 date?
Too many old M3 cars scheduled to be replaced will continue in service far longer than planned before all new cars arrive and are ready for commuters to board. What was the cost for the LIRR to return 100 M3 cars previously mothballed back into service? What about the additional day-to-day maintenance and operating costs keeping this outdated equipment in passenger service?
The LIRR has had to keep its own Independent Engineering Project Management Oversight firm, Engineering, Procurement and other employees on the payroll assigned to this car procurement for many more years than originally forecasted. How much has this cost the LIRR during the life of this project? Will the LIRR submit a delay claim to Kawaski Rail Car for reimbursement of these costs? Why should commuters and taxpayers be stuck with the tab?
When it comes to this project, the LIRR 1960s motto “Line of the Dashing Dan” in 2023 should be “Line of the Slow Moving Sloth.”
(Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office.