By 2009 Buenos Aires was intended to carry out a series of works for expanding the underground network, with more tracks, stations, signage, and even workshops. But because of lack of funds, these works were stopped during that period in which, among other things, there were elections. When the Executive Branch of the City of Buenos Aires renegotiated contracts in 2010, they had to assume an adjustment cost of nearly $ 50 million.
The data comes from a report by the City Auditor (AGCBA, for its acronym in Spanish) approved this year, in which the "deficient planning" of the projects addressed by the Buenos Aires Underground State Society Company (SBASE, for its acronym in Spanish) is stated. The City watchdog found "proceedings of successive subscription agreements, which in the beginning, halted the construction jobs, and then, extended the deadlines. All these rearrangements, the research conclude implied higher costs during the audited period."
In the H line, that links Caseros to Corrientes there was a plan to build two stations in 2009, Hospitals, and Patricios Park, plus a tunnel between the two, consisting of about 1211 meters.
According to the AGCBA this work "was paralyzed between March and December 2009 under budget constraints." In May 2010, SBASE signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Contractor to resume the work, so the State of Buenos Aires agreed to pay "additional amounts totaling $ 10,590,311."
In parallel, there was an additional construction job in the same subway line that was also slowed down because of a lack of funds. It was the "construction of the facilities and Traction Power Centers for Corrientes station" halted between February and July 2009. In this sense, detected the Audit, SBASE asked the contractor to send a proposal to readjust the contract, case in point, "under the arranged budget constraints (by the Government of the City) it did not have funds to begin implementation of the work." In conclusion: to extend the deadlines, an extra value was added, $680,437.
The rearrangements of contracts for the construction of the H line cost the City $11,270,748 more than expected, representing an increase of 5% on the amount of the original contract.
Moreover, for the B Line the idea was to build the garage-workshop Villa Urquiza, a grinding substation and provide pathways. This work, planned for 2009, was rescheduled and resumed the following year by a Memorandum of Agreement in which Buenos Aires Subway recognized the additional costs to the contractor equivalent to 4% of the original contract, which ended up being $9,584,187 more.
A Line, Separate Paragraph
The City watchdog highlighted two aspects of the works that were planned for the A subway line. First, as with the other lines, delays were also present because of "budgetary constraints" that, once they were restart, cost more money to the treasury of Buenos Aires.
This was the construction of the garage-workshop Nazca, a tunnel of 972 meters below Avenida Rivadavia between streets Argerich and Bahia Blanca, and making the rectifier substation Plaza Flores, under the street Artigas (between Yerbal and Rivadavia ), a project that included cells, panels, transformers, and mechanical room ventilation.
According to the AGCBA to overcome the alleged restriction budgeted in 2009 by the city executive, SBASE signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the contractor DYCASA wherein the reset works for 2010 and recognition of new costs were available. This meant for the City a 10% increase on the original agreement, or $23,233,783.
That was not all. The audit adds that the same mechanism is applied in the proposed construction of a signaling system that was divided into two stages, one for the Puan and Carabobo stations, and the other for Flores, Nazca, and the Nazca Garage stations. In this case also appealed to the lack of funds and the works were rescheduled, so SBASE recognized to the company that "additional costs for staying longer in construction meant extra charges for storage and energy, surveillance, collecting materials, higher expenditures regarding maintenance policies, warranties, repair fund withholdings, and insurance. The set of extras involved an increase of $ 5,252,703, 17% of the original total," as was stated in the report.
In short, because of the rearrangements of the extension of the construction designed for the A Line, the City must invest $28,486,487.28 more than the expected amounts. And in total, adding the rescheduling of works of every line, the Executive Branch of the City of Buenos Aires had to pay $49,341,422 more than the original estimates by delaying the work from 2009 to 2010.
A Short Blanket
But the watchdog not only noted the "deficiency in planning" of the construction faced by SBASE but also pointed out a "lack of coordination" in the work performed.
This observation also has to do with the A line. The fact is that when another Memorandum of Agreement was signed, the construction of the San José de Flores and San Pedrito stations had be ready by July 2011. But this readjustment was made "without articulating the acquisition of the necessary railway fleet (cars) to put into service stations" on time.
What does this mean? The auditors visited the line coming out of Plaza de Mayo on October 9th of last year and noticed that indeed both stations- San José de Flores and San Pedrito- were finished, but said that "if enabled with the existing fleet, they would substantially decrease the service frequency."Indeed, this was recognized by the Construction Director of the A Line, who said, at the time of AGCBA’s visit that "two stations are not operational because they lack cars."