Just when the MTA yesterday announced a brand-new $100 million budget deficit, some can’t believe the transit authority is now considering installing expensive sliding glass-and-metal doors to subway platforms.

The MTA is in what a spokesman called the “infancy” stages of considering retrofitting existing stations with sliding doors. It sent out a “Request for Information” to manufacturers in December to determine how much doors would cost to install and what they’ll be made out of. They’ll hear back from manufacturers in March.

The doors would be similar to those already installed at the AirTrain at Newark and JFK airports.

“We have money for all these doors?” asked MTA board member Andrew Albert. “Putting doors in all 468 stations, I can’t imagine the cost of that. I don’t know we have that kind of extra money available when we’re losing buses and train service.”

Four years ago, the MTA considered installing similar platform doors to the under-construction Second Avenue Subway and the 7 train extension, to the tune of $2 million per platform. But the idea was abandoned, said Mysore Nagaraja, the former head of MTA Capital Construction.
Nagaraja estimated that if the MTA were to retrofit the entire subway system with doors, it could cost between $1 billion and $2 billion — and would take 25 years.

Yet he still thinks the doors are a good capital investment. “It would have been nice to have a real 21st century system,” said Nagaraja. “In the long run, it’s a good idea; this will prevent track fires and the maintenance costs, and it prevents people from falling onto the tracks.”

Vandals magnet?

Glass-and-metal doors would be irresistible to subway vandals, warned a former graffiti artist.

“Those doors would not stand a chance,” said Eric Felisbret, a former tagger who used to spray-paint subway cars and is the author of “Graffiti New York.” “They would be a magnet for graffiti, scratchiti and etching.”

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