Taking Sides on the 2nd Ave. Subway
The state and federal governments have cited different deadlines for finishing the first phase of the project
Amid dueling state and federal deadlines for the phase one completion of the 2nd Avenue Subway, Upper East Siders expressed skepticism it would be completed on time while local pols lauded the progress that has been made and urged the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to keep hitting their targets.
On time, in this case, means Dec. 31, 2016, the MTA’s self-imposed deadline by which paying customers could swipe through the turnstiles and ride a subway line that was first conceived in the 1920s. But the Federal Transit Administration, which provided $1.3 billion for phase one, puts the project’s estimated date of completion at over a year later, on Feb. 28, 2018.
In a federal oversight committee hearing this past June, Matthew Welbes, the executive director of the FTA, said a revised funding agreement reached in March with the MTA includes a completion date of Feb. 28, 2018.
“And that was based on what we agreed to with the MTA. If the MTA can deliver the project sooner, we would be proud to see that happen, right? It looks like the project is trending, based on our data, toward an opening of closer to, maybe early in, sometime in 2017,” said Welbes.
Local elected officials gathered last week outside of the 72nd Street Station to express optimism tinged with expectation.
“In May 2014, the MTA reported that the project was 65 percent finished – and it’s now more than 83 percent complete,” said East Side Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “That’s good news, but they have a lot more to do if they are going to finish it by December 2016.”
Maloney said she wants to make sure the MTA meets their target, and that the best way to do that is to keep a close eye on their progress. “With transportation construction, time really is money,” she said at the press conference. “If the project goes long, costs will go up.”
Last week, during an information session at Temple Israel, locals expressed a measure of skepticism regarding the December 2016 completion date.
“Given what I’ve seen, and all the construction, I have a feeling there’s going to be some slippage,” said David Rosenstein, a Community Board 8 member. “I’m making New Year’s Eve plans to do something else.”
“It’s been noted that the feds seem to be commenting on the later date,” said Elizabeth Patrick, who lives on 72nd Street and Second Avenue. “So we’re wondering.”
“Sorry, but I don’t buy the end of 2016,” said one woman who declined to give her name. “But that’s my skepticism as a New Yorker.”