Home 7 Line Extension There goes the 7 line extension

There goes the 7 line extension

by Benjamin Kabak

That station at 41st and 10th Ave. will no longer be a part of the plans for the 7 line extension.

The funding battles and plans for the 7 line extension are starting to mirror the tortured history of the Second Ave. Subway. For years, transit officials would plan the Second Ave. Subway, start the project and then stop work when the funds ran out. Stations were omitted from future plans; express tracks axed.

Now, after decades of waiting for a Second Ave. Subway and seeing plans come and go, the 7 line extension is playing out a similar tale. This weekend, the news slipped under the radar a bit, but the story is still the same. Due to funding concerns, the MTA is cutting out one of the two planned stations for the 7 line extension to the Far West Side of Manhattan.

To those of you following this story since the early days of this blog, this news is no surprise. In November, January and February, I wrote about how the MTA did not have enough money to build the planned station at 41st and 10th Ave. Instead, the Authority intended to build a station at 34th and 11th Ave. and a shell at 41st and 10th. While hardly cost efficient, this shell would allow for the new station at 10th Ave. when the money showed up.

Not anymore. The shell, as The New York Times reported, is being discarded. William Neuman writes:

The authority said it had received only one bid for the work, which includes digging the tunnels and excavating the space for the 34th Street station. The work was also to include the creation of a “shell” for an additional station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street. The contractor, the same consortium of companies that will dig the tunnels for the first phase of the Second Avenue subway, had originally submitted a bid that set the price for the work at $1.5 billion to $1.74 billion.

In a summary of the contract prepared for board members, the authority said that to save money, it decided to eliminate the shell for the 10th Avenue station, and the contractor then agreed to do the work for $1.14 billion.

In The Post, Jeremy Olshan reported that the shell would add another $500 million to the project. The MTA would have to cover any cost overruns, and this is money they simply do not have right now.

“The real irony is that there are many more homes and businesses near the 10th Avenue station than near the Javits station,” MTA board member Andrew Albert said to Olshan. “The bottom line is this is going to cost us a lot more later.”

I, for one, do not understand why the MTA, the real estate agents with holdings in the area and the City cannot reach some sort of deal. In the grand scheme of city finances, that $500 million should be fairly easy to come by. Considering that the MTA and the city are spending a combined $2.4 billion to build this tunnel extension and one station, the remaining $500 million really ought to be on the table.

These reduced plans will come back to haunt us later when the MTA builds the new station at a cost well above $500 million. In that future, I’m sure officials will be ruing this decision. For once, foresight should be 20/20 too.

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11 comments

Marc Shepherd October 22, 2007 - 7:32 am

I can only hope that rationality will prevail. The omission of the Tenth Avenue station would be an error of near tragic dimensions.

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Gary October 22, 2007 - 10:18 am

This is a purely awful decision.

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Scott October 22, 2007 - 12:04 pm

Remember, the MTA never really wanted the 7-line Extension — the City did. And the City was planning to pay for it, too, as part of Bloomberg’s attempt to help develop the west side, initially as part of the 2012 Olympic bid and Jets Stadium plan. Now that the city can’t, or won’t, pay for it, the MTA isn’t prepared to pick up the tab for what was supposed to be a freebee. (The MTA first saw their expenses creep in when the city wasn’t willing to pay for new trains, or yards in Queens to store them).

Having said that, if you are going to build it at all, it should be done right. And I don’t believe this is the right way to do it.

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Marc Shepherd October 22, 2007 - 2:38 pm

Everyone involved has talked themselves into a box. The Bloomberg Administration always said that the 7 Extension made sense even without the Olympics. They had to say that, as no one would agree to build a subway line for a three-week event.

So now they’re stuck with it, even though it involves spending $1.14 billion for just one station.

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Drose October 22, 2007 - 5:21 pm

I think the city is on the hook for $2.1bn, the MTA pays for all overruns on top of that. So if the MTA bids out the extension and one station for $1.14bn, it is saying that it cannot build another station for almost $1bn. That is an astounding amount of money for one station, and a sign that these bidding consortiums are really holding a gun to the head of the MTA.

Sounds like that there are too many projects going on at once, there are too few construction companies available/willing to do these projects, and the MTA can’t use its leverage as the transit monopoly to push for better pricing on its contracts. Unfortunately, this will probably always be the case – when the economy is good, the MTA can afford to build, but the construction companies will be busy. When NYC is in the dumps, the MTA cancels projects exactly at the time it could get the best deal from construction companies scrambling for work. If ever there was a advertisement for a stable source of funding from the state and city, this is it.

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MTA board, hearing opposition, to vote on 7 extension today at Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways October 24, 2007 - 1:25 am

[…] MTA board member but a vocal transit advocate nonetheless, was none too pleased about the plans to eliminate the station at 10th Ave. and 41st St. entirely. “More [need] exists now around the 10th Avenue station than around the Javits Center […]

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Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways » Blog Archive » As the 7 line heads west, Schumer urges a fully-funded project December 4, 2007 - 1:26 am

[…] what just a minute. As I’ve detailed in the past (here, here, here and here), the 7 line extension we’re getting is not the one we want or need. […]

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Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways » Blog Archive » Doctoroff: Let’s go halfsies on the 10th Ave. 7 line extension station December 21, 2007 - 11:42 am

[…] 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. […]

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Second Ave. Sagas | Blogging the NYC Subways » Blog Archive » As Tishman deal collapses, Schumer and Bloomberg spar over development May 14, 2008 - 1:19 am

[…] promised to have the city cover the cost overruns for the 7 extension — but not necessarily that controversial station at 41st and 10th Ave. — things died for good […]

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david September 15, 2008 - 2:15 pm

hi,

Question

What is Site A suppose to be on the 7 line extension .(around west 25th st).

Thanks

Reply
Benjamin Kabak September 15, 2008 - 2:19 pm

I’m pretty certain that its the drop point for the tunnel boring machine, and it gives the MTA tail tracks for storage as well as the potential to extend to the 14th St. and perhaps meet the 7 with the L at around 10th Ave.

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