Today’s news:

MTA moves forward on No. 7 train extension

Transit officials have taken a step toward a possible extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to the Jacob Javits Convention Center on the West Side of Manhattan beyond Broadway.

The Transportation Committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted last week to commission a nearly $41 million contract to look into the feasibility and cost of the project. It is expected to be approved by the MTA board.

The engineering firm of Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas was selected by the New York City Transit Authority to conduct the study, subject to MTA approval.

The proposed extension of the No. 7 line, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg sees as essential, would require an estimated four to seven years to build, according to Transit Authority officials.

Proponents said the extension would also provide a commercial shot in the arm in an area of the West Side from 24th Street to 42nd Street, including a possible new sports arena. Supporters also believe it would help bring the 2012 Olympics to New York City.

One tentative route would take No. 7 trains beyond Times Square to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, then south to Penn Station and westward on 33rd Street to the Javits Center on 11th Avenue.

“The far west side of Midtown Manhattan is underserved by mass transit and extension of the No. 7 would provide access to existing facilities and support the city'’s proposed rezoning of the area,” the staff summery of the proposed project said.

Some transit activists have questioned whether financial conditions would permit the East Side Access project to bring Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal, the Second Avenue Subway and the extension of the No. 7 line to the Javits Center to be undertaken at the same time.

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