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Programme managers frozen out of New York's £2bn subway spend

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NEW YORK'S subway operator is shunning external programme managers in favour of in-house teams as it prepares to launch a massive $3.95bn (£2bn) capital works programme next year.

The city's Mass Transit Authority (MTA) said external programme managers gained from delays as these generated extra work and more fees.

'Their [programme managers'] goal is to make money for themselves, ' said MTA Capital Construction president Mysore Nagaraja. Capital Construction is the capital projects division of MTA.

Nagaraja was speaking as MTA prepared to launch construction of four major projects in Manhattan between now and next summer.

These are:

lThe £550M, 3.3km first phase of the Second Avenue subway line lThe £394M Fulton Street interchange upgrade lThe £210M remodelling of the South Ferry terminal station lThe £27.9M, 2km extension of subway line 7 into the west side of Manhattan.

External programme managers have been associated with cost overruns and delays on several major projects over the last decade. In the United States the £6.8bn Boston Central Artery project ran £900M over budget.

It was programme managed by Bechtel and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

A succession of programme managers including Bechtel, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Brown & Root were all put in charge of the UK West Coast Main Line upgrade, but costs still spiralled uncontrollably.

MTA Capital Construction's project teams have trawled the world for expertise in delivering major mass transit projects.

Countries visited include Hong Kong where rail operator KCRC decided against using external project managers when delivering its £4.1bn West Rail scheme in just seven years.

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