The first leg of the long-delayed Second Avenue Subway isn't even open yet, but some politicians already are trying to ensure the next segment of the line is built. Transit reporter Jose Martinez has that story.
The rush is on for the MTA to open the long-awaited Second Avenue Subway.
"I want a miracle for Christmas, when New Yorkers get the Second Avenue Subway they were promised a hundred years ago," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
But as workers race to meet the end-of-year-deadline to begin service to three new stations, an East Side congresswoman is looking ahead to the line's next stretch.
"We fought very hard not for a stubway, but for a subway," said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
Transit planners have been dreaming about building the second avenue line since the 1920s.
Only one segment has been built — from 63rd to 96th street. The next phase would add two new stations at 106th and 116th streets, and connect to the existing 125th Street station on the Lexington Avenue Line.
"We need to get that federal money and we need to get the benefits of the Second Avenue Subway, not only for the East Side but up to Harlem," Maloney said.
Maloney said the cost of next phase is estimated at $6 billion.
The state, which runs the MTA, has committed one and a half billion dollars of that —enough to begin design, environmental studies and community outreach for five years.
The battle to get funding restored for the second phase of the project into the MTA's most recent Capital Plan showed just how tricky financing these jobs can be.
Most of the money now earmarked for the project was allocated only after East Harlem residents and politicians protested when funding was cut from an earlier version of the program.
"We've taken a great step in terms of making sure that a billion and a half is committed of state dollars to begin work on phase two but we know we can't get there alone," said Manhattan Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez.
And with the line about to start service — the head of the MTA agrees the agency shouldn't stop now.
"I don't think it's lost on anybody that you want to keep the momentum going forward, that we can start construction on the next phase as soon as possible," said MTA head Thomas Predergast.
But the question remains — where will the money come from.