2010-01-29 / Top Stories

MTA Security Program Falls Short

After eight years of missteps and delays, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has completed a number of important security improvements, such as hardening its facilities against a terrorist attack, but the MTA may run out of money before completing its electronic security program, according to a report New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released today.

“The MTA is struggling to bring the security of its system into the 21st Century, but the project is taking too long, costing too much, and there is no end in sight,” DiNapoli said. “The transit system is safer than before September 11, 2001, due in large part to the efforts of the MTA Police Department, but some security improvements are years behind schedule and the electronic security program may never be completed.”

The DiNapoli report finds that the cost of the capital security program has grown from $591 million to $833 million. Only $59 million remains to complete the electronic security program, which the MTA acknowledges will not be enough to complete the project as originally envisioned.

The DiNapoli report details the problems its electronic security program, which was being managed by Lockheed Martin (Lockheed). The contract called for the installation of video cameras and electronic sensors, including motion detectors, access control devices, and intelligent video routed through regional command and control centers. While two MTA operating agencies are now receiving some benefits from the electronic security program, three others are lagging far behind and there is no target date to complete the project, which was to be completed in August 2008.

In April 2009, Lockheed filed suit seeking to terminate its contract alleging scheduling problems and other obstacles. Several rooms where work was to be done reportedly had water infiltration and inadequate electricity; and none were equipped with computer network access. Lockheed is suing for at least $138 million and the MTA’s countersuit seeks $92 million.

The report discusses the MTA’s progress on its overall program to provide the taxpaying public with objective, fact-based information, but it omits specific details due to security concerns.

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