Stringer comes out against a Fulton Street transit center he once supported

The Fulton Street oculus. (MTAPhotos via Flicker.)
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Though he has supported the Fulton Street Transit Center in the past, today, during a breakfast hosted by the Association for a Better New York, Manhattan Borough President and 2013 mayoral candidate Scott Stringer, said, "We can't be throwing precious dollars at projects like the Fulton Street station in lower Manhattan."

"That station is costing taxpayers $1.4 billion and unfortunately will do noting to add capacity when work is finally completed in 2014," said Stringer. "Instead, we must be disciplined and choose efficient, smart projects that improve connectivity and add capacity to our system. You know, New Yorkers will support additional dollars for transit only when they believe that their hard-earned cash is being spent wisely."

The M.T.A. is building a $1.4 billion transit center downtown to improve commuter connections between subway lines and PATH.

Stringer's statement today was, as a spokesman for the M.T.A. later noted, something of a reversal for the borough president.

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Testifying before a City Council hearing on the Fulton Street Transit Center, back when former Alan Gerson was chair of the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Committee, Stringer said, "This facility is of monumental importance to the success of downtown Manhattan, and I am here today to urge that the project is properly funded and moves forward without further delay."

UPDATE: Here's a comment from Stringer spokeswoman Audrey Gelman:

Borough President Stringer has never questioned the need to upgrade the Fulton Street Transit Center, but that doesn’t mean that he supports countless missed deadlines and over $600 million in cost over runs by the MTA since his initial testimony four years ago.

When Borough President Stringer testified in support of the Fulton Street Transit Center in April 2008, it was a $750 million project. It was unknown at that time that hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns by the MTA would eventually drive the price tag to $1.4 billion.

The state of the Transit Center has changed dramatically since his 2008 testimony and unfortunately, the Fulton Street Transit Center is one of several mega-projects that the MTA has failed to deliver on time and on budget.

As Borough President Stringer noted this morning, “we must be disciplined and choose efficient, smart projects” and that “part of the solution must be to make the MTA more efficient – to cut waste and start delivering big projects on time, on budget, at a cost in line with the rest of the world”.