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Millions approved for Second Ave. subway: Maloney

The federal government has come up with another multimillion−dollar infusion of cash for the Second Avenue subway and the East Side Access project.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D−Astoria) said the House of Representatives passed the measure last week and it was expected to be passed by the Senate this week, after which it goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The money for New York City Transit is part of the $410 billion Omnibus Appropriations Act and includes nine separate transportation measures.

The grant was announced last week by Maloney and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D−N.Y.)

The bill provides $277.7 million for the Second Avenue subway and will keep construction on the project going for another year, Maloney said.

“It’s the largest amount of money so far for the Second Avenue subway. We are already seeing progress on the subway project as construction moves forward beneath Second Avenue,” Maloney said. “There are only so many people you can stuff into a subway car and the Second Avenue line will relieve dangerous overcrowding on the Lexington [Avenue] line.”

Before the East Side Access project was even on the drawing boards, transit activists had insisted both it and the Second Avenue subway must be built at the same time.

Otherwise, the already−overwhelmed Lexington Avenue subway, which carries 40 percent of all subway passengers in the city, would have been faced with receiving thousands more commuters arriving from Long Island Rail Road trains arriving at Grand Central Terminal via the East Side Access.

The bill also provides $209.6 million for the East Side Access to bring Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal.

“East Side Access will be a giant leap forward for public transportation in our state,” Maloney said. “There will be a new Long Island Rail Road stop in Sunnyside, Queens, and passengers will get a one−seat ride to Grand Central Terminal, shaving more than a half hour off of riders’ commutes. In addition, East Side Access will help expand the business district in Long Island City and ease congestion on Queens streets.”

Maloney recently issued a report on jobs and other economic benefits created by the construction of the Second Avenue subway and East Side Access, both of which are located almost entirely within Maloney’s congressional district.

The report said the Second Avenue subway project has already created 16,000 jobs, generated $842 million in wages and produced $2.87 billion in economic activity.

The East Side Access has created 22,000 jobs, generated $1.176 billion in wages and produced $4 billion in economic activity.

Under agreements between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the federal Transportation Administration, the federal government furnishes installments of money as both projects progress.

Maloney has been a strong booster for the Second Avenue subway since the mid−1990s, when she opened a campaign to revive the often−begun−but−never−completed line.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e−mail at news@timesledger.com or phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 136.

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