New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that the Second Avenue Subway expansion project that would extend the Second Avenue line to 125th Street in East Harlem has moved to the engineering phase of the project timeline.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Biden in November provided $23 billion in new grant opportunities for transit expansion, a historic level of funding that doubled the amount of grants available for major projects like Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway (SAS2).
The MTA submitted a request to the U.S. DOT to allow Phase 2 of the expansion to move forward and remain eligible for funding. Phase 2 will include the construction of three new subway stations at 106th Street, 116th Street, and 125th Street in East Harlem. The Federal Transit Administration has advanced SAS2 into the engineering phase of the grant process, bringing the project one step closer to reality and allowing preliminary work to move forward.
“Earlier this afternoon I spoke with Secretary Buttigieg who shared the exciting news that the U.S. Department of Transportation is making a huge step forward on Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway expansion, which will unlock incredible potential for the people of East Harlem in expanding transit equity and economic opportunity,” Governor Hochul said. “This moves us into the home stretch towards full funding and the start of construction on this incredibly important project. Last month I toured the site of the extension with MTA leadership and elected officials seeing firsthand the sheer grandeur of this exciting project. We made a clear commitment then to the people of East Harlem that we would keep this project moving swiftly, and now we see the first element of making that vision a true reality for so many New Yorkers. I want to thank Secretary Buttigieg, our Congressional leadership, and the MTA for their tireless advocacy for this project, and I can’t wait to get the trains running.”
Approximately 70% of East Harlem residents use public transportation to get to work, much higher than the citywide average of 55%. The expansion of the Second Avenue Subway would help advance the Biden administration’s and New York State’s goal for transportation equity and would improve the local community’s access to jobs, health care, and other services, while reducing congestion, both on the streets and on the Lexington Avenue subway line and improving air quality.
MTA Acting Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “The East Harlem community has been waiting for the Second Avenue Subway for decades. The new line extension will build on the success of Phase 1 and bring the total Second Avenue Subway ridership to 300,000, which is equivalent to the entire Philadelphia rail system. A big thank you to the FTA for moving the project to the next stage. My team is ready to go.”
Phase 1 of the project extended the Q line from 63rd Street to 96th Street and was New York City’s biggest expansion of the subway system in 50 years. Service opened on January 1, 2017, with additional stations at 72nd Street and 86th Street. Since its completion, the Second Avenue Subway has carried more than 130 million passengers and carried more than 200,000 passengers on a pre-pandemic day. A tunnel segment that will be used for Phase 2 was built in the 1970s from 110th Street to 120th Street along Second Avenue.
Fast facts to know
- This phase of the project will extend train service from 96th Street north to 125th Street, approximately 1.5 miles;
- There will be new stations at 106th Street and 116th Street on Second Avenue and 125th Street at Park Avenue;
- Phase 2 will provide direct passenger connections to the Lexington Avenue (4/5/6) subway line at 125th Street and an entrance at Park Avenue to allow convenient transfers to the Metro-North Railroad 125 Street Station;
- Each station will have above-ground ancillary buildings that house ventilation mechanical and electrical equipment. These will include space for possible ground-floor retail;
- Expansion will serve an additional 100,000 daily riders;
- Will provide three new ADA-accessible stations – raising the bar for customer comfort and convenience; and
- Increased multimodal transit connectivity at the 125th Street station – with connections to the 4/5/6, Metro-North trains and the M60 Select Bus Service to LaGuardia Airport, allowing convenient transfers to other subway and commuter rail lines, facilitating smoother, faster transportation across the city and region.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer said, “The Second Avenue Subway Phase II project advancing into project engineering is great news for the people of East Harlem and all of New York City. Long envisioned – but unfortunately too long delayed – the project is now full-speed ahead. I was pleased to secure the historic $23 billion in grant funding for mass transit capital projects in the bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs law, and will fight to ensure this critical project gets its fair share.”