Ah, the first rumble between MTA Executive Director Elliot Sander and the city! Sander has threatened to stop the 7 line extension if the city won't pay for cost overruns. Because Assemblyman Richard Brodsky asked about the project's budget, Sander wrote a letter to him (which he made public), stating, "It is M.T.A.’s position that we are under no legal obligation to absorb any additional costs or overruns." Ha! As we all know, MTA projects attract additional costs and overruns like honey does bees, and budgeting only $100 million for overruns (the city's current commitment is $2.1 billion) sounds low.
Last year, the city agreed to fund the 7 line extension, because Mayor Bloomberg has been dreaming of West Side development. The city is saying, "A deal is a deal," and claims the MTA will get more tax revenue, but Sander says that the MTA will need to spend $150 million for more subway cars to run on the extended line. And if the MTA winds up paying for the overruns, it might jeopardize other projects, like the Second Avenue Subway. Wow, it'll be like the MTA/City version of Sophie's Choice.
Photograph of the 7 train yard in Queens by stanton and orchard on Flickr