Second Avenue Subway Gets Guaranteed Federal Funding

Yesterday the MTA issued a press release announcing the guarantee of $1.3 billion dollars in federal funds to help build the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway. The news comes as a formality instead of breaking news since this allotment of funds was first brought up in September. However here is the full press release in all its glory courtesy of the MTA:

Governor Eliot Spitzer today joined James Simpson, Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration, in announcing an agreement that guarantees $1.3 billion in federal funding for the construction of the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway. The first phase of the subway project will run along Second Avenue north from 63rd Street to 105th Street, creating three ADA-accessible stations at 72nd, 86th and 96th Streets.

The line will relieve overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue subway line (4, 5 and 6 trains) and is projected to carry 213,000 riders daily. At first, the line will be served by the Q train, which will continue to Coney Island, Brooklyn, via the Broadway express and Brighton Beach local lines.

“Today is truly a historic moment for New York,” said Governor Spitzer. “For much of the twentieth century, New York talked about building the Second Avenue Subway. Today, with the help of our partners in Washington and Albany, the shovels are already in the ground. This project will provide much-needed relief for straphangers on the crowded Lexington Avenue line and will allow us to expand North America’s largest public transportation system to meet anticipated population growth and the increased demand for transit service.”

Lieutenant Governor David Paterson said: “Mass transit is the linchpin of any economic design for the 21st century. This second avenue subway project is part of our larger vision of economic infrastructure investment throughout New York State. This project will be an important source of jobs, especially for minorities, women, and immigrants who, until Governor Spitzer’s leadership, had not been given a fair shake at the opportunity to do work for the State.”

FTA Administrator James Simpson said: “To the 1.5 million riders who squeeze onto the Lexington Avenue line every day, I say help is on the way. The completion of the Second Avenue Subway will relieve much of the congestion on the Lexington Avenue line, which currently carries more daily riders than the metro systems of Washington, D.C., Boston, and Chicago combined.”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said: “In order to meet the transportation needs of a rapidly-growing population, we must be prepared to invest in our city’s infrastructure. Not only will the construction of the Second Avenue Subway alleviate significant overcrowding along the Lexington Avenue lines, but it will also add to the City’s economic growth and our quality of life by getting more people out of their cars and onto public transportation.”

Senator Charles E. Schumer said: “This historic agreement puts this vital and long overdue project right on track. New Yorkers have had to wait a long time for the Second Avenue Subway but with this significant federal investment and commitment, there is now finally light at the end of the tunnel.”

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said: “Once a dream deferred, the Second Avenue Subway is now inevitable. The full-funding grant agreement is a done deal, construction contracts are being signed, and the spades are literally in the ground. It took a cast of thousands to get the subway back on track, but millions in our city and state will benefit from the effort. New York straphangers should take heart: with a strong federal commitment, the Second Avenue Subway is coming.”

Congressman Jerrold Nadler said: “This project has been a necessity for decades, and it is a landmark development that the federal government has finally taken this step. We need to relieve overcrowding on the Lexington Ave line, provide better connections between residential and business areas, and reduce travel times. The Second Avenue subway line would do all that and more. It would also vastly increase subway capacity by hundreds of thousands riders each rush hour.

This line, running south from 125th Street, mostly under 2nd Avenue, would eventually extend all the way to my constituents in the financial district. As a senior member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee I am proud to have done my part in Congress to insuring this project takes place, I am equally as proud to be here at this momentous occasion when the FTA signs a Full Funding Grant agreement with the MTA to provide billions of dollars to finally make this project a reality.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “The Second Avenue Subway is one of the most important and needed transportation projects in the region, which is why I fought for the initial commitment of state funding to once-and-for-all get this project moving. I am delighted that the Federal government has joined us in our commitment to the Second Avenue Subway and has now guaranteed that funding is in place for the first phase of the project. In addition to easing overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue line, the full-build Second Avenue Subway will provide significant benefits to Lower Manhattan.”

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said: “For years, the Second Avenue Subway line has been a lot like the rumors of alligators living in the sewers. Today, we move toward making a project that has been more of an urban legend into a reality. The Second Avenue subway line will ensure our city’s infrastructure keeps pace with both population and economic growth. It is a project that will benefit nearly every New Yorker.” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said: “It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally on the right track. The Second Avenue Subway is essential to realizing our 21st Century economic and quality of life ambitions. I thank my colleagues in government and the many community leaders and transit advocates who took this plan off of the shelf and turned it into a reality. This is a great day for mass transit, which makes it a great day for New York City.”

Elliot G. Sander, Executive Director and CEO of the MTA, said: “We are pleased that our team at MTA Capital Construction is able to undertake the first major expansion of the subway system in generations, even as we perform other expansions in the East Side Access project and the 7-train extension. We are deeply grateful for the Federal commitment and for all the hard work that New York’s congressional delegation has put in to secure this funding.”

Ground was broken for the project in April, and construction is visibly underway on Second Avenue. Currently, crews are moving utility lines (sewers, electrical and telephone lines) on the West side of Second Avenue from 91st to 95th Streets so that a tunnel boring machine can be moved into place to begin tunneling. During this portion of the project, four lanes of traffic will remain open for use. As this is completed in the next three months, traffic will be diverted to the other side of the avenue to repeat the utility relocation process on the other side.

The line is scheduled to open in 2014. Construction will continue with three additional phases that will extend the line first up to 125th Street, where it will connect with the 4, 5 and 6 subway lines and with MTA Metro-North Railroad, and then down to Hanover Square in the Financial District. After completion of the third and fourth phases, the line will carry two trains: the Q and the T, which will run the full length of Manhattan.

When completed, the full-length Second Avenue Subway is projected to carry 560,000 people per day. According to the latest figures from the American Public Transportation Association, Los Angeles’ subway carries 133,200 riders on an average weekday; Atlanta’s MARTA, 239,400, and San Francisco’s BART, 365,300, by comparison. New York City’s entire subway now carries nearly 6.3 million passengers on a typical weekday.

Today’s announcement demonstrates the Spitzer administration’s continued commitment to investing in the MTA transit system as well as other critical New York City infrastructure projects such the redevelopment of Penn Station, the PATH Hub at the World Trade Center, East Side Access, South Ferry Subway Terminal and the Fulton Street Transit Center.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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