More than half of MTA signal replacement projects are delayed, and the cost for the 7-line signal replacement has doubled. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
Straphangers hear it all the time. Trains are late, or not moving at all, because of signal problems.
"I honestly kind of avoid this station now because of the signal problems that I've experienced," said one commuter. "Probably about two to three times a week, I would say."
Delays have been soaring. Some are because of overcrowding. Others are a result of old equipment, like signals, breaking down.
The MTA says long-term relief will come once it installs modern signal systems. The new signals will be less likely to break down and allow trains to run more frequently.
But a new study by the Independent Budget Office says the MTA's overhaul of its signals is, like so many of its trains, delayed.
"The signal system challenges, problems, breakdowns, that's the reason why we're having so many problems and slowdowns and breakdowns," said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
According to the IBO report, eight of the 14 signal projects due to start by 2018 are delayed, and 19 of the 33 signal upgrade and repair projects in the MTA's last two capital plans were completed late or are still going.
The IBO also says the cost of overhauling signals on the 7 line, the biggest project underway, has soared to $405 million, from $265 milion.
Brewer, who rqeuested the analysis, said the MTA's current timetable for completing the modernization of all its signals is not good enough.
"2045 is the projected date. That is not acceptable," Brewer said. "And the $20 billion that's projected to do the entire system needs to be allocated now."
Once the signal job on the 7 is completed, the plan is to roll out the new signal technology on portions of the lines beneath Queens Boulvard, Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, and a stretch of the F and G lines in Brooklyn.
The MTA points out that it's going to be spending $2.1 billion in its current 2015 to 2019 capital program. That's up from $1.3 billion in the 2005 to 2009 capital program."
But in a growing city with packed trains, the changes can't arrive soon enough.