Rep. Maloney Gives MTA an A+ on Final Report Card on 2nd Avenue Subway Phase 1 Progress

Oct 25, 2016
Press Release
Project is already providing new amenities to the community, including the newly redesigned plaza on 63rd and 3rd

NEW YORK—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney was joined by community advocates, 2nd Ave Subway business owners, transit rider advocates and local elected officials to release her final report card on the MTA’s progress towards completing Phase 1 of the 2nd Avenue Subway. Standing at the newly opened 63rd Street plaza—which was redesigned as part of the 2nd Avenue Subway construction and is already open to the community—Maloney graded the MTA on: project merit; economic benefits; communication with public; completion of tunnel construction; progress toward completion; constructions management; progress on station entrances; progress on ancillary facilities; and testing of equipment. She also gave an overall final grade, an A+.

“The MTA tells me that as of October 1, the project was 98% complete,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “With that news, I am proud to be able to give them an A+ on my final report card on the progress of Phase 1. When I first came to Congress, high on my list of things I wanted to accomplish was building the Second Avenue Subway, and Phase 1 will be opening for business soon. We’ve passed the point where there is any doubt that it will be finished.

“In just a few short months, more than 200,000 riders will ride the 2nd Avenue Subway on day one. Phase 1 is in the final stages. Test cars have been run through the tunnel from 57th and 7th to 96th and 2nd Avenue. Sidewalks are being restored and the emergency ventilation systems are being tested. The 63rd street entrance is 99% complete, the 96th street station is 97% complete, the 86th street and 72nd Street stations are 94% complete, , and systems are 94.5% complete.

“The Second Avenue Subway will have a huge impact on people’s lives and this splendid redesigned plaza is already having a wonderful impact on this community – showing how this project will transform the community for the good. There are new benches, trees and plantings, making the plaza a welcome oasis in the heart of midtown.  When the subway opens in a few months, I am looking forward to taking that first ride, but in the meantime, New Yorkers have a beautiful new park to enjoy.”



The new plaza at 63rd and Third Avenue was built with community input.  The public plaza had been used by the MTA as a staging area for over a decade.  With construction completed, the MTA redesigned and rebuilt the plaza in accordance with the wishes of the community.   The plaza features new benches, trees and plantings.

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.  

Phase 1 of the Second Avenue Subway project has created 16,000 jobs, generated $842 million in wages, and produced $2.87 billion in economic activity. In the mid-1990s, Rep. Maloney began a campaign to resuscitate the Second Avenue Subway after the project had lain dormant for decades, and she has worked to include funding for the Second Avenue Subway in appropriations bills.  All of the funding called for under a full funding grant agreement between the U.S. Federal Transit Administration and the MTA  has been appropriated and delivered to the MTA.
Phase 1 is expected to be completed by December 2016.  In 2015, average weekday subway ridership was 5.7 million, the highest since 1948. Annual ridership was 1.763 billion, also the highest since 1948.  The Lexington Avenue line is the nation’s most overcrowded subway line. 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.  The MTA’s 2010-2014 Capital Plan included all of the state funding needed for the first phase of the project. 

Project Timeline

  • 1919 – SAS was first mentioned in New York State Public Service Commission chief engineer Daniel Turner’s 1919  (Politico)
  • The Great Depression foiled the first Second Avenue subway plans.
  • After World War II, the idea for a Second Avenue Subway was revived and the 2nd and 3rd Avenue Els were torn down. In the 1950s, voters approved a half-billion-dollar bond issue for the Second Avenue Subway, but the money was not used for the subway.
  • 1972 - Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Mayor John Lindsay, Congressman Ed Koch and M.T.A. chairman William Ronan actually broke ground on the Second Avenue Subway. Tunnels were built from 99th to 105th, from 110th to 199th and near Chatham Square. But the 1975 financial crisis put an end to further building.
  • 1991 – U.S. Secretary of Transportation was authorized under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act to review SAS along with other projects – no action taken
  • 1995 - Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) authorizes $5 million for SAS study on how to reduce Manhattan traffic
  • July 2000 - First federal funding – $3 million in FY2000
  • April 2004 - Second Ave. Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published.
  • February 2005 - the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) designated East Side Access and the Second Avenue Subway as “highly recommended” projects, the only projects included in TEA-LU to receive that designation. The FTA made the recommendations in its Fiscal Year 2006 New Starts Program Report. In addition, the Report announced that the FTA’s 2006 budget will include $158 million in federal funds to be distributed to the Second Avenue Subway and five other projects from around the country, and $390 million for East Side Access.
  • April 2006 - Extended and Final Preliminary Engineering was completed. In April 2006, The Federal Transit Administration authorized the MTA to begin Final Design of Phase One of the project and the Final Design contract was awarded.
  • March 2007 - First Construction Contract Awarded (constructing the tunnels between 92nd and 63rd Streets, a launch box for the tunnel boring machine (TBM) at 92nd to 95th Streets, and access shafts at 69th and 72nd Streets)
  • November 2007 - Full Funding Grant Agreement authorizing $1.351 billion* in federal funds (*Thanks to grants through CMAQ, the final number was actually $1.374 billion)