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Construction & Design

Stringer rails over $600M slow-go subway

The MTA’s $600 million contract with Bombardier Transit Corporation to produce 300 subway cars is nearly three years behind schedule.


An audit New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer found that, throughout the seven-year extended contract term, Bombardier consistently failed to timely meet project milestones, comply with technical requirements, produce acceptable work and promptly correct serious defects in critical structural components of the subway cars.

In addition, the Comptroller’s audit showed that the MTA failed to adequately oversee Bombardier’s contract performance and timeliness and failed to complete required annual contractual evaluations to hold Bombardier accountable.

“The taxpayers who foot the bill for the MTA’s $600 million contract with Bombardier were promised new, state-of-the-art train cars to help modernize the city’s ailing, outdated transit system. Instead, commuters are dealing with more delays and more subway breakdowns as we wait for trains that are three years behind schedule,” said Comptroller Stringer.

“This audit reveals that MTA’s top-to-bottom mismanagement of Bombardier’s contract — from missed deadlines to bad welding to poor design — cost New Yorkers as much as $35 million to keep old, broken-down cars on the tracks long past their expiration date.

“By shedding light on these issues today, we are urging the MTA to exercise far greater accountability, oversight, and responsibility in their management of these critical contracts. New Yorkers are paying for a 21st century subway system and deserve nothing less.”

In 2012, the MTA entered into a $599 million contract with Bombardier for the design, production and delivery of 300 R179 subway cars. The contract called for Bombardier to deliver 10 prototype cars to the MTA by January 2015 and all 300 cars by January 2017.

Bombardier missed both deadlines and by January 2017 had delivered only 18 cars of the 300 cars the contract called for. As of the date of this audit, delivery is still incomplete and is now 35 months behind the original contract schedule.

Comptroller Stringer’s audit found failures by Bombardier to timely meet contract requirements and deadlines, failures in its design and subcontracted manufacturing processes, and insufficient oversight by the MTA to minimize the delays and promptly enforce key contract requirements.

Although the MTA and Bombardier negotiated revised deadlines, a $1.27 million payment reduction, and Bombardier’s agreement to deliver 18 additional subway cars at no additional cost, Bombardier again failed to meet the extended deadline of January 2019, delivering only 162 cars by that date.

As of December 2019 — nearly three years after the original project completion date — the MTA has reported that 298 of the 318 cars now required have been delivered, of which 278 are in service.

Comptroller Stringer’s audit included a series of recommendations for the MTA to ensure better contract compliance.

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