Hochul Urges Fast Start of $6 Billion Second Phase of Second Avenue Subway

Currently the project expected to cost $6.3 billion for 1.5 miles of new subway tunnel, which would include three new stations at 103rd Street, 116th Street and 125th Street. The MTA hopes federal grants will cover half of the project, while “local sources” make up the other half.

MTA officials blame the Trump administration for holding back the projects by sitting on paperwork for two years. Organizers of the Gateway Project, another major project in our region, also complained the Trump administration halted progress by routinely failing to approve but required documents.

“We are very concerned and urge the government to grant our request,” Hochul said. Hopefully the approvals will allow us very soon to announce its launch in 2022, we will be able to make it happen. (An email to federal DOT officials asking what the current status of the Second Avenue subway is and the timeline for taking it forward was not immediately returned.)

The website of the federal DOT, which was last updated in May 2021, it rates the project as medium-high, meaning federal officials believe the MTA will be able to pay its share, though it says the agency was “optimistic” about the cost of capital, capital revenue growth and farebox revenue growth.

Last week the MTA announced it wouldn’t raise rates next year, in an effort to lure riders back, although the MTA’s chief financial officer recommended raising rates in mid-2022, 2023 and 2025 to avoid future shortages that would put the MTA on an uncertain financial footing.

The next phase of the Second Avenue subway is plagued by the cost overruns and long delays of the first phase. The New York Times mentioned it in an article on precious labor and wasted resources the “most expensive subway mile on earth.”

The current acting chairman, Janno Lieber, who was previously head of engineering at the MTA, does not want that name hanging over this phase of the project.

“To move this thing forward, we’re going to do it differently, smarter and hopefully more efficiently than some of the projects in the past,” Lieber said.

Although, when asked what would be different, he said the project would be a design-build project, construction jargon for hiring the same company to design and build the project, rather than being done by one company. let them design it and then have a separate company build it. The MTA would also bid not only on the cheapest contractor, but also the most time-saving.

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