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First rule of Fulton Street Transit Center: Nothing will go as planned. Back in 2004, the MTA unveiled designs for the new Fulton Street Transit Center, which would have included a towering steel-and-glass dome (the "oculus") AND connections between many different trains lines, providing easier transfers for subway riders.

But in 2005, the MTA said the project would be delayed and scaled back (smaller dome, shorter hallways between lines) and then earlier this year, the MTA said it would have to scale back the plan even more due to the rising cost of acquiring neighboring buildings. Now, the MTA has gone so over-budget that it may consider not completing a connection between the R/W at Cortlandt and the E train at World Trade Center. From NY1: "Without that connection, passengers could still transfer underground via the PATH station, but no free transfer."

Which has the MTA's board in arms. The NY Times reports board member Barry Feinstein as saying, "I won’t support a project like this that is going to discombobulate tens of thousands of passengers a day because you want to have a fancy roof." The station is already costing $847 million (over the planned $750 million), but another $15 million is needed for the R/W and E connection.

The a 50-foot version of the oculus would have cost $180 million, but now a 20-foot version will cost $130 million. Chairwoman of the MTA's Capital Construction and Planning Committee Nancy Shevell Blakeman also said, "There has been a recurring theme among my board members that we don’t want a fancy building and a fancy roof. We are not building cathedrals here."

The president of the MTA's Capital Construction Company, Mysore Magaraja, said that engineers would try to find a solution, but emphasized the lack of money because the budget can't be increased. We have to side with the board members - we'd like a beautiful subway station, but we'll gladly take a humdrum subway station with good accessibility between many lines.

Here's the MTA's page about the Fulton Street Transit Center. Another fun fact: Originally $50 million was set aside for acquiring real estate - but now that cost has grown to $157 million.