Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Transit Waste Alert Level Red

Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News reported yesterday that the cost of installing 1,000 surveillance cameras at key points throughout the transit system has ballooned to an estimated $450 million dollars. The planned system, begun in 2005, is now almost $100 million over budget, and expected to be seven months late, not coming on line until August of this year. As there are now only 300 of the cameras installed, and no command center as of yet, I'd say further delays and budget overruns are a safe bet.

In a world not gone mad, keeping us safe from terrorists would be the province of the State Department, the military, Homeland Security, and the NYPD, not the bunch of bureaucratic buffoons at MTA headquarters. The dollar amount, you will note, is $96 million more than the Feds have promised us for implementing congestion pricing—does that make you feel safe?

It would make a lot more sense to use cameras to guard against fare beaters, and deploy more NYPD officers on the trains and station platforms, where they could not only guard against terrorists, but could also enforce New York City Transit's "Code of Conduct", making for a safer and pleasanter ride for all of us. Don't hold your breath.