Construction Costs

The Story

New York City’s transit infrastructure is ancient and crumbling. Everyone agrees that the city needs to fix its existing transit assets and build more, but construction in Gotham takes forever and costs a fortune. Why is building new tunnels and bridges in New York so expensive and difficult, and what can be done to make it cheaper and easier?  

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. 10x: The per-mile cost of digging tunnels in New York City runs between $2 billion and $8 billion, an order of magnitude higher than it costs to build comparable projects in Europe or Asia. Read more.

  2. Staffed: Union rules in New York mandate using up to 25 workers at a time for a tunnel-boring machine; in Sweden, the same machine requires only five workers. Read more.

  3. Scaffold Law: Insurance costs on New York construction projects are the highest in the United States, largely due to the archaic Scaffold Law. Read more.

“Long tolerated as an accepted natural consequence of New York’s size and dominance, these costs threaten to strangle New York’s future economic growth.”

Regional Plan Association

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

The MTA and the MTA By Nicole Gelinas (July 14, 2006)

“Massachusetts should be ashamed — but New York State shouldn’t feel superior. Albany boasts more than 700 unaccountable public authorities just like the Bay State’s MTA.”

And in other news...

“A Brooklyn councilman is pushing a bill that would prohibit the city from contracting business with entities enforcing federal immigration laws.”