The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved a five-year capital program April 28 that includes $4.5 billion for expansion projects and $15 billion for maintenance of existing transit and bridge systems. The program will be sent to Albany for review by the Capital Program Review Board, says Mysore Nagaraja. Najaraja, president of MTA Capital Construction, the branch that handles the planned East Side Access, Second Avenue Subway and No. 7 line extension projects, says he remains "optimistic" about getting the funding.

Two project bid awards are on hold for the $6-billion East Side Access project to extend Long Island Rail Road into Grand Central Terminal. One is a $364-million, mile-long tunneling job that teams bid on seven months ago, says Nagaraja. A local joint venture led by Slattery Skanska and Traylor Brothers with Judlau Contracting, Inc. was the low bidder. The other contract is a $97 million open-cut excavation job to connect an existing tunnel to a railyard in Queens. Kiewit Construction Co., a division of Omaha-based Peter Kiewits Sons, was the low bidder, says Nagaraja.

The review board must decide on the submitted MTA budget within a month, says Nagaraja. The budget already falls short of ideal needs; the core program would receive about $16 billion as opposed to $17 billion originally requested—requiring renovation of many subway stations to be delayed— and Nagaraja's expansion projects would receive $4.5 billion, not the ideal $7.6 billion, he says. The $2-billion allocation for extension of the 7 line would be paid for by the city of New York. "The rest depends on the capital program review board," Nagaraja says.