IG reports serious problems with MTA’s construction project documentation filing system

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Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York from United States of America, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York from United States of America, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

There are serious problems with New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)’s construction project documentation filing system, says Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny.

In her report made public on Dec. 21, Pokorny wrote that theMTA’s system for filing construction documentation is “so complex that many contractors simply ignore it,” the New York Post reported.

The MTA currently has a $55 billion five-year capital construction plan, with $10 billion coming from the federal infrastructure bill signed by President Biden last month.

Some 48 percent of required documents were missing from the MTA’s project database software Asite for nine bus and subway projects, the IG report says.

She wrote that MTA officials do not enforce the authority’s “ponderous and confusing” 62-page records guidance. MTA’s own staffers “have experienced significant difficulty” to navigate the database.

“MTA Construction Managers allow the contractors to determine what documents were uploaded, and where,” the report said. “No one is held accountable for failing to comply with document retention requirements in part because no one is checking.”

The IG report recommends that  officials create a simpler protocol and beef up staff capacity to enforce standards on contractors.

The subway and bus projects were moved from the New York City Transit Authority to MTA Construction and Development in early 2021.

“MTA Construction & Development was formed to innovate and standardize capital project delivery across the MTA. One of the many initiatives is to enhance legacy construction management systems such as Asite,” MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said in a statement.

“Work is well underway to improve Asite, including the recommendations contained in the report, with a target of full implementation by the end of 2022.”

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