A New Year with a New Subway
I am thrilled that we were able to ring in 2017 with a ride on the brand new Second Avenue Subway! This is a momentous achievement for our city and our country. It is the first new subway line in New York City in more than 60 years and will have a lasting impact for generations to come.
As I took that inaugural ride, I could not help but think about the immense effort it took to turn this 100-year old dream into a reality. When I was first elected to Congress in 1992, the Second Avenue Subway was my top priority and I had my first meetings with the community and federal officials shortly after taking office. At the time, many people told me that it was impossible, but I knew if we fought hard enough and didn’t take no for an answer, that we could make the impossible happen.
Working with determined local community leaders, activists, and local elected officials, we held press conferences, wrote letters, held meetings at every level of government and made people realize that we were not going away. As a result of this work over many years, we were able to get the MTA to once again make this project a priority and to commit to a full-build Second Avenue Subway from 125th to Wall Street, after initially only thinking about building the portion from 96th to 63rd Street. Over the years, I was I was able to secure a $1.3 billion federal investment for the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, which put this project over the top and allowed us to finally build a subway that had been100 years in the making.
This project has been a boon to the city. Even before it opened, the Second Avenue Subway created more than 16,000 jobs and generated $842 million in total wages and $2.87 billion in total economic activity. Those economic benefits helped us weather the Great Recession by keeping New Yorkers on the job.
As the MTA broke ground on Phase 1 of the subway in April 2007, people pointed out that this was our fourth ground-breaking. Too often, funds were appropriated and work was begun, but before long the money was taken for other priorities and work came to a grinding halt. That’s why I made it my mission to make sure that this time, we got our subway. After securing the federal funds, I made sure they were put to use and brought to the project strong and consistent federal oversight, including several field hearings in New York City with members of the U.S. House Transportation Committee and the annual report cards I issued documenting the project's progress.
Now, it’s up to us to build on our momentum and realize the dream of a full-build Second Avenue Subway, which is why I have been urging the State to make a seamless transition to Phase 2 which will extend the line from its current terminus at 99th Street up to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue.
We're off to a good start with the December 23 announcement from the Federal Transit Administration that it gave its approval for Phase 2 to enter Project Development under the New Starts Program, a two year process of environmental review and engineering at the end of which the project will be eligible for significant federal funding, estimated to be roughly one-third of the initial cost. But as the nearly century-long effort to get us here shows, it’s up to all of us to keep the pressure on and hold those in charge accountable.
The Second Avenue Subway shows politics at its best; making the impossible happen. If our city and our country are going to undertake more transformational infrastructure projects, then the federal government must do its part.
I look forward to continue working with all of you on making this dream a reality and making our city ever better and more accessible.
As always, your concerns for New York and for our nation remain my top priority; please visit my website to let me know what is on your mind.
Carolyn B. Maloney
Member of Congress
Photos: First Look Inside The 96th Street Second Avenue Subway Station
The new stations of the Second Avenue Subway are beautiful and feature some great artwork!
See more photos from the tour of the newly opened 96th Street station at Gothamist.
New York Times:
Second Avenue Subway Clean, and Fast, Wins Praise as Commuters Return
By its third day of service, the Second Avenue subway already had fans.
Read more about the opening of the Second Avenue Subway at the New York Times.