The 8.5-mile Second Ave. Subway took one giant leap toward reality when the Federal Transit Administration announced its approval of a $1.3-billion grant for the construction of the new subway line. This money — promised to New York City by President Bush back in February — will be a huge boost to a project with finances that, up until now, could be described as shaky, at best.
Right now, information on the grant approval is sketchy. NY1 reports that the the $1.3 billion will be added to the $1.5 billion already assigned to this project. This money is simply for the first stage of construction which encompasses the three stops at 96th St., 86th St. and 72nd St., as well as a connection via 63rd St. to the existing BMT lines down Broadway.
amNew York’s Tracker blog has a statement from some of New York’s local politicos:
The Federal Transit Administration has informed Congress that it will approve a full-funding grant agreement for the Second Avenue Subway, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Governor Eliot Spitzer, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced today. The New Yorkers hailed this crucial investment in New York City’s transportation system, which is expected to provide about $1.3 billion in federal funds to build the first leg of the subway project.
The statement, as you can see, doesn’t shed any further light on what this grant means for the project. In April, I reported on a projected the $800-million gap in funding for the Second Ave. Subway. I believe that figure already included this grant which city officials all but considered theirs six months ago. This announcement today is really more symbolic than anything else.
With various organizations pledging bits and pieces of the puzzle, I think the $800 million has been cut. Whatever the difference is now, it should be covered by the money drawn in by the congestion fee. That money is, after all, set to go to the Second Ave. Subway instead of the JFK Railink. I’ll do my best to clarify this money puzzle shortly.
But no matter; this is great news for the city. The federal government is willing to toss some serious bucks our way to ensure the completion of a project that is vital for the future health of the city. If only we could always be so lucky.