U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), speaking amid the din of construction on the Second Avenue subway, expressed hope the first phase of the long-sought project will be completed on schedule next year, but cautioned that delays would cost more millions.
“In May the MTA reported that the project was 65 percent finished—and it’s now more than 83 percent complete,” Maloney told the press assembled at 72nd Street and Second Avenue Friday for a progress report. She has shepherded, encouraged and brought in federal money for the project since the mid-1990s.
“That’s good news, but they have a lot more to do if they are going to finish it by December 2016,” Maloney said, “We want to make sure they meet their target. I believe that in construction, time really is money. If the project goes long, costs will go up.”
As Maloney spoke, workmen swarmed the upper floors of a new MTA building designed to house what the MTA terms ancillary equipment, including machinery involved in operation of subway trains.
When the first phase of the project is completed down to the 63rd Street station, the Q line from Queens will be diverted and become the Second Avenue subway. Ridership has grown on the N and Q trains in recent years, raising questions about what plans the MTA has to serve riders with only the N train remaining to Astoria.
“As for Astoria, the level of service we operate on the Astoria line is needed for the ridership there,” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said. “While the route letters may change and exactly what will happen hasn’t been determined yet, we have no plans to reduce service on the Astoria or any other line when SAS opens.”
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer marked the progress.
“Eighty-six years after the Second Avenue subway was first proposed, phase one is finally rolling toward completion,” she said. “East Side residents will finally see a reward for their amazing patience.”
At 63rd Street, the new line will link onto the existing Q line tracks, providing a one-seat ride from 96th Street on the Upper East Side to Times Square, Lower Manhattan and Coney Island in Brooklyn.
The first phase of the project includes four new stations: 63rd Street (89 percent completed), 72nd Street (61 percent completed), 86th Street (44 percent completed) and 96th Street (69 percent competed).
The Second Avenue subway’s first phase will carry more than 200,000 riders daily and help relieve congestion on the 4, 5 and 6 trains, which carry more than 40 percent of all New York City straphangers in the most jammed trains in the system.
The project has created 16,000 jobs, generated $842 million in wages and produced $287 billion in economic activity.
The new subway, as planned, will run primarily through the 12th Congressional District, which Maloney represents.
©2015 Community News Group
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