2nd Avenue Subway
Building the Second Avenue Subway has been one of my top priorities since I was first elected to Congress. New York City’s subway system has not added capacity in over 60 years, and we need to expand. Passengers on the Lexington Avenue line have the dubious distinction of riding on the most overcrowded subway line in the entire nation. There is a limit to the number of people that can be crammed into one subway car, but the Lex line seems to have exceeded that limit. A Second Avenue Subway offers a much-needed alternative for commuters. The full length subway, which will run from 125th Street to lower Manhattan, will also reach underserved neighborhoods on the East Side.
One of two New Start projects in the city (the other, East Side Access, is also in my district), the Second Avenue Subway has been rated by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as one of the best in the country. The former Administrator of the FTA, Jenna Dorn, told me that the best work she had ever seen submitted was the MTA’s submission on the Second Avenue Subway.
The project is being divided into four phases. The first phase will create new tracks and tunnels from 99th Street to 63rd Street, with new stations at 96th, 86th and 72nd Street. The new line will then link onto existing underused Q train tracks and provide a one seat ride to lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. When completed, the Second Avenue Subway will move 202,000 people, more than any other New Start project in the nation. With strong support from the entire New York Congressional delegation and our two Senators, we broke ground for the subway in April 2007. The MTA completed construction of the two tunnels for the subway on September 22, 2011, five months ahead of the February 2012 expected completion date. Construction is also well underway for the 96th Street, 86th Street, 72nd Street and 63rd Street entrances.
The first phase of the project will cost approximately $4.4 billion, and the lion’s share of the funding is already committed. On November 19, 2007, the FTA entered into a full funding grant agreement with the MTA, committing the federal government to provide $1.3 billion to construct the Second Avenue Subway, of which more than $900 million has already been appropriated. The state is obligated to provide the remaining $3.1 billion. Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Sheldon Silver, New York State appropriated $1.05 billion in its 2000-2004 capital plan. In 2005, New York State voters approved another $450 million from the Transportation Bond Act. As a symbol of the support for the project, the East Side of Manhattan cast more votes in support of the Transportation Bond Act than any other area of the state. The remainder is expected to be allocated in the state’s 2010–2014 and 2015-2019 capital plans.