Will the stimulus save 7 extension stop?By
The 7 line stop at 41st St. and 10th Ave. may be saved by the stimulus.
Before the weekend, we learned that the national stimulus plan would finally deliver a transit hub for Fulton Street. In fact, the stimulus may save another faulty MTA Capital Construction program from a giant budgetary mistake.
In the comments to that Fulton-inspired post, SAS reader Kris Datta dropped in a note about the 7 line extension. “I understand some of this stimulus money is also being used to fund the 10th Ave. station on the 7 line extension,” he writes.
To recap, the 7 line extension is a city-funded project that extends the 7 line from Times Square west along 41st St. and then south along 11th Ave. to 34th St. The planned development at Hudson Yards spurred on the city investment in this project, and while talks for the Yards are scheduled for Monday, it is resting on unstable ground.
When the city and the MTA agreed on the extension deal, the city promised to pay for the project up to a certain point and not more. The MTA wouldn’t take on cost overruns for a project that doesn’t benefit too many people and serves simply to fatten the wallet of whatever real estate companies winds up with the Hudson Yards lands. With costs on the rise, the MTA couldn’t promise to build the station stop at 41st St. and 10th Ave., and it seemed that the city would be investing a few billion dollars in a subway extension to nowhere when other, more necessary projects — such as the LIRR East Side Access and Second Ave. Subway — tottered along.
But now it sounds like the government’s infusion of cash will save another station. I’ll try to nail down a list of the MTA’s planned stimulus projects this year, but restoring this station seems to make a lot of sense. The MTA can start spending this cash on a construction project nearly immediately, and it will have long- and short-term benefits for the economy.
As much as this 7 line extension isn’t a necessary plan in ways other extension proposals are, omitting a stop at 41st and 10th would have been an insult to the neighborhood. The Hell’s Kitchen area needs more transit options, and while it’s true that the area is already developed, that shouldn’t preclude subway access.
In the end, though, the MTA can’t always rely on stimulus money for proper project funding. The authority has a whole bunch of plans in the works to expand and enhance subway service throughout the city, but these plans are plagued with high price tags. It’s great that the government’s efforts to kick start the economy will benefit the city, but one day soon, the state, the city and the MTA will have to find a more permanent solution to this capital funding problem.