money train

Price of MTA Cost-Cutting Consultant Rises

A W train sits at the Whitehall station in Manhattan, Feb. 27, 2019. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

The price tag for a consulting firm charged with saving the MTA money is going up.

The MTA board will vote next week on a $3.75 million contract with AlixPartners – a vote delayed in March when the-then $2.3 million restructuring contract met fierce resistance from board members.

“That’s a little bit troubling,” said Andrew Albert, an MTA board member.

An MTA spokesperson pegged the price increase to a widening in the scope of the deal with AlixPartners, which is being enlisted to help overhaul the financially strapped transit agency.

“AlixPartners is a nationally recognized restructuring, cost cutting, and efficiency firm that will help the MTA make the changes we absolutely need to make in order to provide our customers with the service they deserve,” said the spokesperson, Maxwell Young. “The contract now includes a number of additional important functions that were prescribed in the (state) budget bill.”

Under the March proposal, the consulting firm – whose website touts its work with “helping businesses respond to challenges when everything is on the line” – was supposed to develop an MTA restructuring plan by June.

The contract called for AlixPartners to come up with a plan to help the MTA “consolidate functions” and cut costs at all of its agencies, which include the subway, the buses, two commuters railroads and capital construction.

The expanded proposal calls on the consulting firm to submit a report that, among other things, flags “fraud, waste, abuse or conflicts of interest” within the MTA and review its five-year, $26.6 billion capital program.

The original contract caused a stir at the March meeting. Members said they were given little time to examine the deal.

“This is a major change for this institution,” board member David Jones said at the time. “And we’re just going to pick somebody out of a hat because someone said they looked good?”

Others MTA board members delivered harsher assessments.

“This is not the way to do it,” said Peter Ward. “There’s no emergency, there’s no urgency, and this is not the way to do it.”

Then there was Charles Moerdler, who called the March contract an “unlawful” delegation of the board’s authority.

Both men are no longer on the MTA board. Ward recently left and Moerdler’s term expired.

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