I bet tourists would be really confused by this sign if it were still there. (AP Photos)
When last we checked in on the 7 Line Extension at the project’s groundbreaking, Senator Chuck Schumer had just called upon the City of the New York and the MTA to resolve their differences concerning cost overruns for the $2.1-bilion one-stop extension to 34th and 11th Ave. As we know, the plan originally called for the city to fully fund a two-stop extension with one station at 41st St. and 10th Ave., but increasing costs led the city to say they would fund just a shell of a station. Six weeks before the groundbreaking ceremony, even higher-than-expected costs led the city scrap the plans for that station altogether.
Now, after a long stand-off between the City and the MTA, the City may be willing to negotiate a settlement of sorts concerning the station at 10th Ave. that should be built now; it will only get more expensive in the future. The first offer of a settlement is coming from none other than the man who first told the MTA they should cover cost overruns. Departing Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said the City would be willing to pay for half of the second station if the MTA were willing to pick up the other half. Even just half of this project could cost the MTA up to $575 million. Patrick Arden of Metro has more:
The offer represented a change of heart for the Bloomberg administration, which had balked at spending more than the $2.1 billion it had budgeted for the project, a key part of its plan to develop the Far West Side. To cut costs, the 7 extension had become a one-stop line to 34th Street and Eleventh Avenue, because “commercial tenants will not move” to the Hudson Yards without the 7, Doctoroff explained at the project’s groundbreaking ceremony earlier this month…
MTA chief Elliot Sander told a state Assembly hearing Thursday he’d consider splitting the shell’s cost, but it depended on the MTA getting more money from Albany. “Under the current [capital] plan, we do not have the resources,” he said.
Now, this is something of a red herring from Doctoroff. When the City worked out a deal with the MTA to fund the 7 Line Extension, the City was originally on the hook for the entire cost of this project. It was, after all, part of Doctoroff’s ill-fated plan to draw the Olympics to New York and a new stadium for the Jets to the Hudson Yards area. The MTA stands to gain very little from this extension. Why should they pour their hard-to-come-by capital funds into this project anyway?
New York politicians, criticizing the MTA for its fare hike on Wednesday, rushed to the agency’s defense on Thursday. “It would be a grave error for the MTA to even consider it,” Assemblyman Richard Brodsky said.
Brodsky, along with Schumer, the City Comptroller and other state and federal officials sent a letter to the city yesterday urging the Bloomberg Administration to foot this bill. The letter noted, as had been previously reported, that the city could pay for the station if they ditched plans for a tree-lined promenade in the yet-unbuilt Hudson Yards development. Seriously, a subway stop at 10th Ave. and 41st St. far outweighs some hypothetical trees that a private developer could probably afford to plant.
While the Mayor’s office, in a wonderful show of politicking, called upon Schumer and the Washington pols to send money to the MTA for this project, the city just should pick up the tab. They’re trying to renege on a promise, and it will become more expensive to correct this mistake as time wears on. This sure isn’t the last we’re going to hear about the station at 41st and 10th Ave., and I still think that, when all is said and done, the 7 line be making two stops when the construction is complete.