I spoke to George Haikalis (trust me, he’s a lot smarter than his HTML looks), a regional planner and former NYCTA official, about the high cost of New York City transit. He had a message to the press and academia:
Part of the problem is that we don’t really have a very strong independent technical press, or independent academic community that really understands anything about railroads. We’re pretty much at the mercy of the big engineering firms, and those firms pretty much do the bidding of key bureaucrats, who have a central theme: keep this within their family.
“Their family,” or course, being the agency they work for. In the case of East Side Access and the canceled ARC project, which is what we were discussion, this means (/meant) LIRR and NJ Transit getting their own unspeakably expensive deep caverns just so they wouldn’t have to share any of the existing abundant station platforms with other regional railroads.