Maloney Urges Second Avenue Subway Be a Federal Infrastructure Priority


Today at our NYCTRC meeting, member Trudy L. Mason reported on a press conference she had the privilege to attend. This morning, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney announced that the Trump Administration plans to include Phases 2 and 3 of the Second Avenue Subway in its list of infrastructure building priorities. She reported that as much as $14.2 billion could be allocated to fund the project. Below is the text of the press release issued by Congresswoman Maloney that accompanied the press conference.

January 26, 2017

Grace Harman (212) 860-0606 [email protected]


Maloney confirmed reports indicating new Administration will prioritize Second Avenue Subway Expansion

New York—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney announced that the Trump Administration plans to include Phases 2 and 3 of the Second Avenue Subway in its list of infrastructure building priorities. An unconfirmed leaked copy of the list estimates that $14.2 billion could be allocated for the project. Maloney spoke directly with the Trump team earlier this week, and was repeatedly assured by individuals who worked on creating the list that Phase 2 and Phase 3 are part of the plan. When completed, Phase 2 will go from 96th Street and 2nd Avenue up to 125th Street, and Phase 3 will go from 62nd Street down to Houston Street. Congresswoman Maloney, a long time champion of the Second Avenue Subway, has been pressing Congress and the Trump Administration to include the next phases of the Second Avenue Subway in any infrastructure priority lists being developed.

“I am thrilled that the new Administration has included Phases 2 and 3 in its list of priorities,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “I have been working hard to ensure that my colleagues in Congress and the new administration know the importance of the Second Avenue Subway and have been urging them to include it as part of any list of infrastructure priorities being developed, and they have listened and responded with enthusiasm. This project will have an enormous impact on the city – for commuters and job creation.  Even before it opened, Phase 1 of the Second Avenue Subway created more than 16,000 jobs, generated $842 million in total wages and $2.87 billion in total economic activity. Not even a month has passed since the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway opened, and it is already a game-changer for the city,” said Rep. Maloney. “People are reporting a massive reduction in commute times, fewer people are crowding onto the Lexington line, and the extended line has made it even easier for New Yorkers to travel around the city.

“But, Phase 1 is just the beginning. New Yorkers should not be forced to wait another 100 years for the next phases, and federal funding is critical for moving this project forward. Phase 2 has already been approved for Project Development under the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts Program—a two year process that includes environmental review, engineering design and community outreach at the end of which the project will be eligible for federal funding—so we are already moving forward and making progress. I have been informed that the MTA has already signed two contracts needed for this process, one for environmental review and one for preliminary engineering and design, and a request for proposal has been issued for the community outreach component. I look forward to continuing this momentum and working to bring the full subway line from 125th Street to Hanover Square to our great city.”

“Manhattan needs this federal investment to reduce commute times and ensure that our city remains the place to be,” said Jessica Walker, president and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, a membership organization of businesses. “Crucial lessons were learned in Phase 1 that should mitigate business disruption in the next phases of construction.”

“Business owners are already reaping the benefits of the Second Avenue Subway,” said Sammy Musovic, President of the Second Avenue Subway Merchant’s Association. “It was clear from the start how important this subway is for New Yorkers, and I am glad that the new administration has recognized that finishing the subway should be a priority. Congresswoman Maloney has been a tireless advocate and true champion of the subway. Without her dedication we would not have Phase 1, and it is thanks her commitment that will see the subway completed.”

“We are very pleased the President’s preliminary list of essential national infrastructure ‎investments includes Phase Two of Second Ave Subway,” said Denise Richardson, Executive Director of the General Contractors Association of New York. “But it didn’t happen by accident.  The only reason it is in there is because Carolyn Maloney doggedly championed it.  The  City, the region, and the over 200,000 riders already using the new line each day, owe her a debt of gratitude for her tenacity in making sure that the better commute to jobs, health care and recreational activities she helped achieve in Phase One will ultimately be shared with East Harlem residents — and beyond.”‎

Also in attendance was Trudy L. Mason, Manhattan Representative to the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.


The Second Avenue Subway construction has been divided into four phases.  Phase I of the Second Avenue opened on December 31, 2017 and is already a great success.  After the completion of all four phases, the Second Avenue Subway will provide a one-seat ride from the Upper East Side to Times Square, lower Manhattan, and Brooklyn.  The first phase of the subway carries more than 200,000 riders each day and ease congestion on the most overcrowded subway routes in the nation: the 4, 5, and 6 Lexington Avenue IRT trains on Manhattan’s East Side. Phase 1 of the Second Avenue Subway project created 16,000 jobs, generated $842 million in wages, and produced $2.87 billion in economic activity. Phases 2 and 3 are estimated to have a similar impact.

In the mid-1990s, Rep. Maloney began a campaign to resuscitate the Second Avenue Subway after the project had lain dormant for decades, and she has worked to include funding for the Second Avenue Subway in appropriations bills.  All of the funding called for under a full funding grant agreement between the U.S. Federal Transit Administration and the MTA has been appropriated and delivered to the MTA.

On December 23, 2016, the Federal Transit Administration gave its approval for Phase 2 to enter Project Development under the New Starts Program, a two year process of environmental review and engineering at the end of which the project will be eligible for significant federal funding, estimated to be roughly one-third of the initial cost.

Project Timeline

  • 1919 – SAS was first mentioned in New York State Public Service Commission chief engineer Daniel Turner’s 1919  (Politico)
  • The Great Depression foiled the first Second Avenue subway plans.
  • After World War II, the idea for a Second Avenue Subway was revived and the 2nd and 3rd Avenue Els were torn down. In the 1950s, voters approved a half-billion-dollar bond issue for the Second Avenue Subway, but the money was not used for the subway.
  • 1972– Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Mayor John Lindsay, Congressman Ed Koch and M.T.A. chairman William Ronan actually broke ground on the Second Avenue Subway. Tunnels were built from 99th to 105th, from 110th to 199th and near Chatham Square. But the 1975 financial crisis put an end to further building.
  • 1991 – S. Secretary of Transportation was authorized under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act to review SAS along with other projects – no action taken
  • 1995 – Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) authorizes $5 million for SAS study on how to reduce Manhattan traffic
  • July 2000 – First federal funding – $3 millionin FY2000
  • April 2004 – Second Ave. Subway Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was published.
  • February 2005 – the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) designated East Side Access and the Second Avenue Subway as “highly recommended” projects, the only projects included in TEA-LU to receive that designation. The FTA made the recommendations in its Fiscal Year 2006 New Starts Program Report. In addition, the Report announced that the FTA’s 2006 budget will include $158 million in federal funds to be distributed to the Second Avenue Subway and five other projects from around the country, and $390 million for East Side Access.
  • April 2006 – Extended and Final Preliminary Engineering was completed. In April 2006, The Federal Transit Administration authorized the MTA to begin Final Design of Phase One of the project and the Final Design contract was awarded.
  • March 2007 –First Construction Contract Awarded (constructing the tunnels between 92nd and 63rd Streets, a launch box for the tunnel boring machine (TBM) at 92nd to 95th Streets, and access shafts at 69th and 72nd Streets)
  • November 2007 –Full Funding Grant Agreement authorizing $1.351 billion* in federal funds (*Thanks to grants through CMAQ, the final number was actually $1.374 billion)