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In too deep to admit tunnel error

A section of the Long Island Rail Road

A section of the Long Island Rail Road tunnel that will provide commuter-rail service between Long Island and Grand Central Station, Queens, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. The tunnel is part of the Long Island Rail Road's East Side Access Project that is scheduled to provide commuter-rail service to the east side of Manhattan in 2022. Credit: Charles Eckert

This so-called East Side Access, which is really “midtown access,” has to be the worst use of taxpayer money since the Vietnam War [“Another $1B for MTA project,” News, April 15].

In 1975, I was an engineering leader in the planning division of the New York City Transit Authority. The plan was to build a terminal at Third Avenue and 56th Street for the Long Island Rail Road. Instead, City Hall believed money could be saved by using Grand Central Terminal instead and ordered a feasibility study.

In my analysis to the chief engineer, I stressed the incompatibility of the tracks for the Metro-North and the LIRR, which would necessitate underpinning about a mile of Metro-North Railroad tracks to bring in the LIRR underneath. This negated any savings.

My warnings have proved true, but the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has thrown good money after bad. Realizing, as I had noted 25 years earlier, that the suburban level of Grand Central would be incompatible for the LIRR, the MTA is spending taxpayer money to avoid losing face.

Michael Tenenbaum, Plainview

Editor’s note: The writer is retired from the New York City Transit Authority.