Nov 30, 2001
Press Release

WASHINGTON: US Senators Charles E. Schumer, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Peter King, Carolyn Maloney and Gregory Meeks announced today that the two most important New York City mass transit capital projects - East Side Access and the 2nd Avenue Subway - will receive a combined $16.7 million in new federal funding. Also included in the funding package is $5 million for the Cross Harbor Freight Rail Tunnel Study and $3 million for the Jamaica Station Intermodal. Earmarked as part of the 2002 Transportation Appropriations Bill, Schumer, Clinton, Nadler, King, Maloney and Meeks pushed these funding projects through conference committee.

The Senate's FY02 Transportation Appropriations bill contains $14.7 million for the East Side Access Project, which will connect the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) to Grand Central Station using 8700 feet of tunnel already existing under the East River. The East Side Access project will increase the LIRR's capacity into Manhattan by 45%, reducing trip time by 30-40 minutes every day for over 50,000 passengers. Once opened, the tunnel is expected to reduce auto travel over the East River Bridges by 375,000 vehicle-miles per day. The East Side Access Project also calls for construction of a new LIRR station in Sunnyside, Queens. This funding will help complete initial design elements and allow MTA to begin construction in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx.

The MTA is slated to receive $2 million for the Second Avenue Subway project, which is intended to ease congestion on the Lexington Avenue line, the most crowded subway line in the nation. The Second Avenue line is expected to generate 7.5 million new riders every year and take 340,000 current riders from the Lexington Avenue Line. This funding has been earmarked for preliminary engineering work on the first part of the project, extending from 125th Street to 63rd Street.

The Cross-Harbor Freight Rail Tunnel project will receive $5 million in new federal funding. The Cross-Harbor Freight Rail Tunnel project, initiated in 1998 when the City of New York began studying ways to ease bridges and tunnel congestion. The project will help move more freight into the city by rail instead of roads. Currently, just 3% of freight is moved into the city via rails, in contrast to a nationwide average of 40 percent. This funding will go to pay for the completion of an Environmental Impact Study, the first step that must be completed before building the tunnel. Schumer and Clinton said that the tunnel would bolster Brooklyn's status as one of the biggest container ports in the area.

Additionally, Jamaica Station is slated to receive $3 million for improvements to its intermodal facilities. An important transfer station for 25 MTA buses, 15 privately operated bus operators, and 9 Long Island buses, every day, over 55,000 people make a connection from one of these buses to the Long Island Rail Road and New York City Transit at Jamaica Station. The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) will use the funding to expand bus facilities at Jamaica Station in anticipation of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's AirTrain, which will begin operation in 2002. The AirTrain will increase the demands on Jamaica Station by providing a direct rail link to John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, which can currently only be accessed by the overburdened Van Wyck Expressway.

"This is a great day for straphangers," Schumer said. "East Side Access and the Second Avenue Subway are New York City's two most important mass transit projects and this funding means less crowded subways and buses, more convenient routes and less wear and tear on our rails and roads."

Clinton said "I am so pleased that we have been able to secure funding for East Side Access and the Second Avenue Subway. These projects are top priorities because they have a very real and beneficial impact on the every day lives of so many New Yorkers. Now, more than ever, we need these critical investments in our city's infrastructure."

"Today, my colleagues from both sides of the aisle overwhelmingly supported the continued funding and completion of many important projects, including a rail freight tunnel for the region, that will both revitalize the Port of New York and New Jersey, and improve the air quality in New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the lead proponent of the rail tunnel. "I am grateful for their overwhelming show of support for the East Side Access project, 2nd Avenue Subway, and rail tunnel." Congressman Peter King, a longtime advocate for the East Side Access Project, stated "This project will be beneficial, not only to the commuters on the LIRR, but to transit riders and all other commuters throughout the metropolitan region. By providing services to riders from Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties and reducing congestion, vehicular traffic and pollution, it is clearly one of the most cost effective investments the federal government could make."

"Just rebuilding after September 11 isn't enough. We need to make the economy stronger than ever before and the 2nd Ave subway and East Side Access are critical parts of that effort," said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY), who represents the East Side of Manhattan. "I thank Senators Schumer and Clinton for their strong leadership in helping to secure these funds and the entire New York delegation for their support."

"Today's bipartisan agreement by members of the House and Senate reaffirms downtown Jamaica as the nation's premier intermodal transportation hub," said Representative Gregory W. Meeks, one of the main supporters of the East Side Access Project. "This funding agreement continues the strong federal investment South East Queens has experienced over the past few years."