Rep. Maloney and Speaker Silver Ask MTA for Second Avenue Subway Phase 2

Aug 12, 2013
Press Release

~MTA has all the State Funding Required to Complete Phase 1~

New York, NY – Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver penned a letter to MTA Chairman Thomas Pendergrast on Aug. 5, committing their support for the MTA’s progress on the Second Avenue Subway project, which is nearing Phase 2. In the letter, Congresswoman Maloney and Speaker Silver expressed enthusiasm and support for the MTA’s plans to begin discussions with the FTA regarding the possible need for a supplemental environmental review and a full funding grant agreement for Phase 2 of the project. Congresswoman Maloney and Speaker Silver also asked that the MTA share all future plans and changes to the project, including any foreseen difficulties, and provide a timetable for Phase 2.

“We are moving ahead on this project. Phase 1 is halfway done, all of the state funding and nearly all of the federal funding have been secured, $3.08 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively. But if we do not lay the groundwork now, we will not have a seamless transition to Phase 2. The MTA tells us it is planning for the next step, but there are some important unanswered questions,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “I thank Speaker Silver for his continued commitment to this project. He was the force behind the full-build subway at the outset and he has made sure sufficient funds were allocated to this project. I am pleased to know he will continue to provide critical support as the project moves forward toward Phase 2.”

“I have consistently been committed to ensuring that the Second Avenue Subway is completed. East Side residents have been forced to endure limited access to subways and over-crowded commutes. I look forward to the MTA moving ahead on future phases of this critically important project and I eagerly await the day when residents of my Lower East Side community can ride the Second Avenue Subway. I want to thank Congresswoman Maloney for her unwavering dedication and leadership on this project,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

FULL TEXT OF LETTER:


                                                                            Aug. 5, 2013
                    
Thomas F. Prendergast Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Prendergast,

We are delighted that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has made substantial progress toward completion of the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, and that it is moving forward with plans to build the next phases. We are pleased that the MTA is in the process of reconfirming the Phase 2 alignment that was included in the 2004 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and outlined in the Record of Decision (ROD) in order to make any necessary changes. It is particularly reassuring to know that the MTA is expecting to begin discussions with the Federal Transit Administration regarding the possible need for a supplemental environmental review and a full funding grant agreement for the next phase.

We believe those steps need to be done with all due haste in order to ensure that the MTA is moving forward with a seamless transition to the next phase. In our view, it would be much harder to continue construction if there is a significant lag between the two phases. Currently, the MTA has a great team in place that knows the plans, knows the problems and can build on lessons learned during the first phase of Second Avenue Subway construction. If the MTA fails to move forward now, much of that knowledge will be lost as people move on to different projects.

In coming years, the number of people commuting to jobs on the East Side is expected to continue to expand and the need to proceed with construction of the subway grows critical, particularly in Midtown. Furthermore, East Side Access is expected to add riders to the already overcrowded Lexington Avenue line. These two changes make it more important than ever to quickly begin Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway. The closer we get to the next phase, the closer we come to fully realizing the vision for the entire project, which is so urgently needed throughout the East Side, including Lower Manhattan. We look forward to learning more about your plans for the Second Avenue Subway, including the timetable for your study, any changes that you expect to make, any difficulties you currently foresee and the timetable for your negotiation of the full funding grant agreement. We want to reiterate our strong support for this project and our willingness to work with you to make sure the project moves forward as quickly as practicable.

Very truly yours,

CAROLYN B. MALONEY                SHELDON SILVER
Member of Congress                    Speaker of the Assembly


BACKGROUND:

The Second Avenue Subway construction has been divided into four phases. Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway project includes 2.3 miles of new track, three new accessible subway entrances at 96th Street, 86th Street and 72nd Street, new connections to the existing 63rd Street station, 11 station entrances, 6 ancillary buildings, a ventilation shaft and a cooling tower structure. After the completion of all four phases, the Second Avenue Subway will provide a one-seat ride from the Upper East Side to Times Square, lower Manhattan, and Brooklyn. The first phase of the subway will carry more than 200,000 riders each day and ease congestion on the most overcrowded subway routes in the nation: the 4, 5, and 6 Lexington Avenue IRT trains on Manhattan's East Side.

The federal government entered into a full funding grant agreement with the MTA pursuant to which it is providing $1.3 billion of the $4.451 billion project. Only a de minimis amount ($16.8 million of the $1.3 billion) has not yet been appropriated. The MTA’s 2010-2014 Capital Plan includes all of the state funding needed for the first phase of the project. Phase I is expected to be completed by December 2016. The MTA recently announced it has reached the halfway mark to completion. All ten of the Phase I contracts have been awarded and two have been completed.

The 86th Street Station Utilities Relocation contract was completed in November 2011 and the TBM Tunneling Contract was completed in March 2012. In addition, they expect that the first 96th Street Station Site Work and Heavy Civil contract will be completed by September this year.