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Old March 9th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #1
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MTA More Secure, Projects Behind Schedule

NYC transit more secure, but projects behind schedule
2 March 2006

NEW YORK (AP) - Transit officials have hired more police, held terrorism drills and ordered random searches of passengers' bags to make the city's mass transit system safer in a post-Sept. 11 world, but several major security projects are still behind schedule, state Comptroller Alan Hevesi said Thursday.

In a review of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's security plans, Hevesi said the agency running the nation's largest transit system was making some progress on projects to reinforce transit hubs, major bridges and tunnels, improve evacuation procedures and install electronic surveillance cameras.

"We are requiring a transportation agency to go well beyond its core expertise and to protect the public from a terrorist attack. Never before has a mass transit system tried to retrofit its facilities to address a threat like this," Hevesi said. "We all want these projects completed quickly, but we also want them done right."

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the MTA has hired 201 additional officers to its mass transit system, an increase of 42 percent, while its division overseeing city bridges and tunnels hired 261 officers. The agency also created a task force to coordinate emergency drills with other security and transit officials, asks passengers to alert police to suspicious activity and conducts random searches of passengers' bags at some stations, Hevesi said.

The starts of three of 16 scheduled construction projects have been delayed by one year or more; half are eight or more months behind; and only one of five projects expected to be completed by Wednesday has been finished, the report said. The comptroller's office and the MTA didn't specify the projects for security reasons.

Lou Schiliro, the MTA's director of interagency preparedness, said the agency may have been "somewhat optimistic" with its initial deadlines because the initiatives had not been done before and some of the technology was still in development.

"It would have been irresponsible to just take some money and throw it at these projects," Schiliro said Thursday. "These are things ... that have to withstand scrutiny not only today but five years from now and 10 years from now."
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Old March 12th, 2006, 02:37 AM   #2
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I take it that the 2nd Ave subway will never be built from what's going on with the MTA currently.
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