Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Long Island Rail Road: Holban/Hillside Maintenance Complex
In 1991 the Long Island Rail Road Company (LIRR) opened the Holban/Hillside Maintenance Complex. The Complex, which was built at a cost of $380 million to service and repair railroad cars, was expected to increase worker productivity through better equipment and technology. However, we found that several maintenance shops in the Complex operated at less than half their productive capacity. In addition, significant amounts of space and millions of dollars worth of equipment were not used at all and sat idle. For example, a conveyor system costing $2.5 million sat idle because it was cheaper for the LIRR to buy new railroad car seats than to use the conveyor system to reupholster the seats. Moreover, even though space was available at the Complex, the LIRR paid $1.2 million annually to rent office space.
We also noted that, even if maintenance operations are made more productive by the technological improvements of the Complex, the productivity gains will be offset to some extent by payments made pursuant to a federal law protecting workers against a loss in income, including overtime. LIRR officials estimate that about $9.3 million will be paid to workers pursuant to this law. We further noted that the roofs leaked in two of the Complex's buildings. One of the roofs, which cost $420,000 to construct, was to be replaced at an estimated cost of $760,000.