The MTA's beleaguered East Side Access project to link the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal could get a new estimated completion date and budget in coming months, officials said Monday.

After repeatedly blowing estimates, in January the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it would only commit to a range of possible costs and completion dates for East Side Access, compiling its own estimates and those from independent consultants and the Federal Transit Administration. The cost range was $9.7 billion to $10.8 billion, and the range for the completion date was September 2021 to September 2023.

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But MTA chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast said the agency is working on "one schedule, one cost" for the project, once budgeted at $4.3 billion. But the agency will take its time to get the numbers right, he said.

"We cannot afford to re-baseline it again, only to find it being outside of what those parameters were within a year or two," Prendergast said at a Manhattan MTA meeting. "We need to get to a point to where we deliver this project. Sunken money alone dictates that."

Executive William Goodrich, newly appointed to oversee East Side Access, said the MTA has committed $6.49 billion to the project, and spent $4.8 billion -- about half its lowest cost estimate. When completed, the project aims to save 160,000 LIRR customers up to 40 minutes a day in their commute.

MTA board member Mark Lebow told Prendergast at the meeting that, while he understood the reluctance to name a specific project cost and completion date, it should do so promptly.

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"Otherwise, you give the impression that you do not know how much it's going to cost and you have no idea when it is going to be completed," Lebow said.