Feds will fund first phase of 2nd Ave. subway

Feds will fund first phase of 2nd Ave. subway
Courtesy Carolyn Maloney
By Philip Newman

The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee has assured New Yorkers that the federal government will supply enough money to complete the first phase of the Second Avenue subway.

Reps. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, and Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) last week toured the recently completed tunnels for the first part of the subway.

“For the benefit of other major transportation and infrastructure projects like the Second Avenue subway and the stability needed to undertake these kinds of projects around the country, it is essential that Congress complete a six-year transportation bill as soon as possible,” Mica said.

Mica said he would help ensure full funding of the federal government’s share of the cost of the first phase of the new subway. The federal government is obligated to contribute $309 million over the next two years to fulfill its $1.3 billion commitment for the first phase of the four-phase project.

“The Second Avenue subway is a great example of what can be done when we invest in our infrastructure, and I thank Chairman Mica for committing to help ensure that the federal government meets its responsibility of funding the first phase,” Maloney said.

“On its first day of operation, the new subway will carry roughly 202,000 people per day — more than the transit systems of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco combined — and ease the pressure on the Lexington Avenue line, the most overcrowded subway line in America,” Maloney said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority completed all tunneling for the first phase of the subway in September, when a tunnel boring machine broke through to an existing tunnel at Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street.

The MTA must still finish station entrances, ancillary buildings and track preparation and says the first phase will be completed by December 2016.

When finished, the Second Avenue subway will run 8 1/2 miles from 125th Street to Hanover Square in Lower Manhattan. The first segment will include stops at 72nd, 86th and 96th streets. At 63rd Street, the new line will link onto existing Q line tracks, providing a one-seat ride from the Upper East Side to Times Square, Wall Street and Brooklyn.

Construction of the Second Avenue subway, which will also enable the MTA to route Long Island Rail Road trains through Grand Central by siphoning off passengers from the Lexington Avenue line, will be in four phases, with completion scheduled for 2018.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.