MTA’s construction projects filing system is a hot mess

The MTA’s system for filing construction project documents is so complex that many contractors simply ignore it — causing a mess for MTA officials who attempt to review the work, an inspector general report said Tuesday.

A review of nine bus and subway projects revealed that 48 percent of required documents were missing from the MTA’s project database software Asite, according to Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny.

MTA officials do not enforce the authority’s “ponderous and confusing” 62-page records guidance, according to the report. That leads to to a database that the MTA’s own staffers “have experienced significant difficulty” to navigate.

Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny noticed many documents were missing from the database.
Gregory P. Mango

“MTA Construction Managers allow the contractors to determine what documents were uploaded, and where,” the report said. “No one is held accountable for failing to comply with document retention requirements in part because no one is checking.”

The MTA’s $55 billion five-year capital construction plan is set for more than $10 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law by President Joe Biden last month.

To ensure better recordkeeping for future projects, the IG recommended officials create a simpler protocol and beef up staff capacity to enforce standards on contractors.

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill last month.
AP
President Jamie Torres-Springe
Jamie Torres-Springe is the President of MTA Construction & Development.
Daniel William McKnight

Subway and bus projects — including the nine reviewed as part of the report — moved from the New York City Transit Authority to MTA Construction and Development in early 2021.

“MTA Construction & Development was formed to innovate and standardize capital project delivery across the MTA. One of the many initiatives is to enhance legacy construction management systems such as Asite,” MTA Construction and Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said in a statement.

“Work is well underway to improve Asite, including the recommendations contained in the report, with a target of full implementation by the end of 2022.”