News flash: The way to get stuff done at the MTA is to play MTA types against each other. There NY Times summarizes the fate of the Fulton Street Transit Hub with the headline: Planners Clash Over Transit Hub, and Riders Win.
Forgetting the construction delays, last November, the MTA said that the massive project that was supposed to be about connecting most of the downtown subways might not be able to connect the E train to the R/W station because construction costs were so high. And one reason the costs were high was the glass oculus for the hub's roof which would filled the station with light. But that really upset the MTA board, who didn't understand why "discombobulate tens of thousands of passengers a day because you want to have a fancy roof." And even MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow said, "The E connector is going to get done and we are going to find the money."
Now it turns out that the MTA will cough up about $41 million to add to the $847 million in federal funds for the project so there can be a glass dome AND an E-connector. The Times article is full of interesting building and engineering explanations that it infinitely clear any subway-related construction is difficult ("switchback ramps"...building structures like a "reverse bathtub"...secant walls).
The MTA says the project will be completed by the end of 2008, so that really means the end of 2009. And if you want to sorta experience what the Fulton Street Transit Center in its A, C, E, J, M, Z, R, W, 2, 3, 4 and 5 accessible-glory will be like, check out this fun interactive from the NYTimes.com - it even has moving trains and straphangers!
Image from the NYTimes.com's interactive about the Fulton Street Transit Center