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 PA $HELLS OUT DOUBLE FOR WTC PATH STATION

 Sun Jan 25, 4:47 AM ET By SUSAN EDELMAN

 
The contractors who built the temporary World Trade Center PATH station are being paid twice as much in fees as they agreed to accept in their winning bid to do the 9/11 rebuilding job, The Post has learned.

The Port Authority says it hiked the fees and added performance bonuses during construction last summer to control the project's cost overruns and to restore train service downtown ahead of schedule. "This was a fast-track emergency project," said PA spokesman Gregory Trevor. "Our responsibility was to restore service as quickly as possible." The temporary station opened Nov. 23, just ahead of the December target.

Fees and bonuses paid to a joint venture of three contractors - Yonkers Contracting Co., Tully Construction Co, and A.J. Pegno Construction Corp. - now total $37 million, Trevor said. The group won the contract two years ago by bidding the lowest fee, $16 million. The next lowest bid was $23 million.

The PA authorized the project in December 2001, three months after the 9/11 attacks. The job included repairing tunnels under the Hudson and water damage to the Exchange Place PATH station in Jersey City. Last July, the PA agreed to pay the contractors $460 million for the job - up from the original $300 million. Trevor said construction costs were higher than expected, some tunnel work became more complex, and the contractors agreed to build a viewing fence around Ground Zero. The revised deal included first-time limits on what the PA would pay for labor, equipment, and other expenses. Because this imposed a financial risk on the contractors, the PA added a $14.7 million fee, Trevor said.

Trevor said the overall cost of the project was $566 million, $22 million more than budgeted. He could not provide a detailed breakdown, as The Post requested a month ago, saying, "It's still being compiled." Jeffrey Gordon, a spokesman for state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, said his office has authority to audit PA contracts and that Hevesi may examine the WTC station job "if there are flags raised or issues that need to be addressed."

The design for a $2 billion WTC transit hub - which will replace the temporary PATH station between 2007 and 2009 - was unveiled last week.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nypost/20040125/lo_nypost/pahellsoutdoubleforwtcpathstation

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