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.