Home Second Avenue Subway Feds ride to the 2nd Ave. subway rescue

Feds ride to the 2nd Ave. subway rescue

by Benjamin Kabak

So this blog’s title clearly refers to the oft-discussed and never-built 2nd Ave. subway line. This phantom subway line, in the planning stages since the Coolidge Administration, has seen some life over the last few years.

The MTA wants it built to alleviate the congestion on the East Side IRT. The state was hoping to use some federal money from the Sept. 11 relief efforts to improve transportation in the city. And the local politicos have long wanted this new subway line.

Well, now comes the news that the line – potentially New York’s own T line – is one step closer to a reality. As The New York Times reported on Monday, the feds are kicking in a few hundred million bucks for this project. The relevant information please:

After decades of planning and dreaming by officials, two major expansions of the city’s mass transit system took important steps forward yesterday, with the federal government promising to pay billions of dollars for a Long Island Rail Road connection to Grand Central Terminal and for a Second Avenue subway.

Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said final approval had been granted to allow $2.6 billion in federal funds to be spent on construction of the Long Island Rail Road link, which will give commuters on the railroad a direct ride to the east side of Manhattan. Speaking at a news conference in the main hall of Grand Central, she said it was the most money the federal government had ever committed to a mass transit project.

She said her department had also approved $693 million for the new subway on Second Avenue. In both cases, the federal money is only a portion of the total costs.

So what does this mean for the future of the subways? Well, for one, according to the article, the Second Ave. Subway funding is “some months short of such a binding commitment.” Peters will ask Congress to provide this money as a down payment, and you can bet the new Democratic-led Congress will be happy to pay back Senator Schumer for his work during the election season.

With the LIRR extension on tap, the Second Ave. subway becomes even more of a hot topic. With many more commuters going through Grand Central instead of Penn Station each day, the East Side IRT will become even more crowded than it already is (if that’s even possible). To alleviate the crush on the 4, 5 and 6, the Second Ave. subway must be built. The system on the East Side simply cannot take many more passengers.

For the first time in decades, it looks like we’ll actually have a Second Ave. subway. While the mantra around New York remains “I’ll believe it when I actually ride on it,” for the first time in a long while, the beginning stages of the multi-billion-dollar funding necessary for these projects to go forward is in place.

P.S. Sorry for the long delay between posts. Life interfered with blogging. But I’m back. So stick around.

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Marsha December 21, 2006 - 8:45 am

How do you know the 2nd Avenue subway will be called the T? I was just pondering that issue myself while reading the New York Times article.

Benjamin Kabak December 21, 2006 - 6:43 pm

I know it’s called the T based on that report from New York Magazine. It’s on MTA documents as well.

George Elliott January 3, 2007 - 9:09 pm

What else would a 2nd Ave subway be called? Don’t you remember the song “Tea for Two”?


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