Oh, MTA - you and your outlandish idea of putting a glorious glass dome at the renovated Fulton Street Transit Center! The proposed design, unveiled in 2004, seemed an inspiring idea for the agency. But, after years of attempts to start construction, costs have risen to $1.15 billion, from the initially estimated $750 million, causing MTA executive director Eliot Sander to say, "I am sad to say that we cannot build the transit center as currently envisioned in this market." In other words, good-bye dome-oculus thing!
The market factors include expensive construction costs and only one team submitting a bid that ended up being more than double what the MTA expected. The transit center is meant to link 12 subway lines, and while some might feel a glass dome is a folly for the perpetually cash-strapped agency, the Alliance for Downtown New York's president Elizabeth Berger said, "Fulton and Broadway are the crossroads of downtown, and the transit hub as imagined was going to give Lower Manhattan something that it hasn’t had, which is a visible transportation hub."
Then again, let's recall a 2006 quote from the chairwoman of the MTA's Capital Construction and Planning Committee, Nancy Shevell (better known these days as the MTA member who macked with Macca) gave to the NY Times: "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 MTA board has never been a huge fan of the dome.
NY City Council Transportation Committee chair John Liu told the Sun, "There is no question that construction costs are way up. The question is why the whole project itself is taking so long [it was supposed to open in 2007; underground work will start next year so it's now scheduled for 2010, which means 2011]. It's important that the MTA get its arms around this beast, because the project is so vital. The MTA should not blow this opportunity."