The Second Avenue Subway is a topic New Yorkers have heard about for decades, and with the first phase of that project finally set to open in a little more than two years, MTA officials are already looking down the tracks at where it goes next. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
Don't expect a shovel in the ground on the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway for another five years at the earliest, but on Thursday, MTA officials said there's no stopping the megaproject that's been a century in the making, so long as the agency gets the big bucks needed to stretch the project north from 96th Street.
"Clearly, the commitment we're making is, we need to continue Second Avenue and not put it a in hiatus and just do planning," said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast. "We need to continue construction, because if you, once you stop construction, it's hard to start it up, and it'll cost you more."
At a state Assembly hearing in Manhattan, the MTA's chairman and CEO said the agency will seek $1.5 billion in funding for the project in its 2015 to 2019 capital plan.
"There needs to be a dialogue with respect to how we fund expansion projects," Prendergast said.
The fully funded first phase, which runs from 63rd Street to 96th Street, is set to open in December 2016. The next stage would add stations through 125th Street.
"We have to do our environmental assessment to go from where we are up to 125th Street, and that takes some time and some planning, and then, we'll enter the design phase," said Craig Stewart, the MTA's senior director for capital programs.
But it will take even more money, from the state and federal governments, to finish Phase II. Prendergast has faith that the funding will materialize.
"Even with its challenges, even with its issues, at the end of the day, we get the money to run the system, and it's been that way since 1982," Prendergast said.
Among the factors driving the northern expansion of the Second Avenue Subway is existing infrastructure, such as at 116th Street, where officials say the shell of a station is already in place.
Riders on the crowded Lexington Avenue line and elected officials say the expansion is a must.
"It's got to get done," said one rider. "We started it, and we need to finish."
"Not only is the Second Avenue Subway needed for the future needs of the city and state of New York, but it's also needed to alleviate overcrowding on the Lexington line," said Assemblyman Dan Quart of Manhattan.
A full century later.