MTA pushes to finish 2nd Avenue subway by year’s end

By Philip Newman

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has decided to come up with an extra $66 million in its push to get the first phase of the Second Avenue subway opened and running on schedule by the end of this year.

The extra millions will provide longer and additional work shifts for construction workers and come from a contingency fund, which will still contain around $50 million , according to an MTA paper. The MTA Transit and Bus Committee approved the money at a meeting Monday and it was scheduled to go before the agency’s board later in the week.

“With every day’s work on the Second Avenue subway the MTA gets closer to fulfilling a promise made to New Yorkers in 1929,” said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast. “Opening the Second Avenue subway will provide new options for our customers and relieve congestion on Lexington Avenue 4, 5 and 6 trains.”

The MTA memorandum continued: “With this enormous challenge in mind and the understanding that there needs to be a massive mobilization of employee crews and equipment over a relatively short period of time, it is financially and operationally crucial that the system be ready as planned.”

The $4.4 billion project, construction on which began in 2007, will result in the Q line running to the 63rd Street station on the Lexington line and stations at 72nd Street, 86th Street and 96th Street.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), long a strong supporter of the Second Avenue subway, said the extra money was good news.

“This project is incredibly important to New Yorkers as the Lexington Avenue line is currently the most congested in the nation and is in desperate need of relief. I am very much looking forward to my first ride come December 2016.”

Maloney, who has been an advocate of the new subway for 20 years, has long warned that such projects as the Second Avenue subway become vastly more expensive as they are delayed.

The Second Avenue subway is a critical part of the East Side Access plan, which will bring Long Island Rail Road riders into Grand Central. The Second Avenue subway will eventually reach Grand Central and siphon off straphangers to make room for the LIRR commuters as they travel to destinations on the East Side and elsewhere.

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