Stimulus Bill Likely to Rescue two New York City Mega-Projects

10th Avenue Station on 7 Subway Extension and Fulton Street Transit Center are likely to be funded – but there’s no more money for operating expenses…Fulton Street Transit Center

Second Avenue Sagas reports that the stimulus bill, currently under consideration by the Senate, will rescue the long-planned Fulton Street Transit Hub and may provide the funds to add the canceled, but still sought-after 10th Avenue station on the extension of the 7 Subway currently under construction. But there’s no money for operating expenses.

Befitting its huge population, New York City will be the biggest recipient of stimulus transit funds, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority stands to gain between $1.5 and $2 billion from the stimulus, most of which will go to capital projects. Fortunately, the funds will go to two projects already under construction but whose completion has recently been in doubt.

The Fulton Street Transit Center, in Lower Manhattan and a block from the World Trade Center, will connect the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, M, and Z trains with the E, R, and W trains. Many of the train platforms and all of the corridors connecting them will be improved and expanded, but the most significant addition to the streetscape would have been the new transit building to be constructed at the corner of Fulton Street and Broadway. That building was planned to have a large skylit dome and dramatically improve access to the subway there, but it was cut from the project as costs skyrocketed.

The stimulus bill’s provisions for transit grants will ensure that the MTA has enough money to complete this important project.

Also in the program is the likely construction of a second station along the 7 Subway Line extension from Times Square to the Far West Side. That project, being sponsored by the city though built by the MTA, would have added a station at 10th Avenue and 41st Street as well as one at 11th Avenue and 34th Street, but the former was cancelled as construction costs increased.

Now that construction costs have decreased and the city is likely to reap big sums from the stimulus, the project may well be funded fully this time. Nothing has yet been announced.

But while capital expenses are necessary for cities like New York, there is no money in the stimulus bill to pay for the MTA’s gigantic operating deficits that will result in the death of the W and Z trains later this year if the State Assembly in Albany or the Congress can’t get their acts together.

Transit agencies all around the country are carrying record numbers of passengers, but they’re receiving less funding from their respective municipalities and from dedicated funding sources. Of course we’re excited about actually seeing these two New York projects built… it’s just that New York also needs money to run the trains that will serve them! Will Congress come through?

Image above: Fulton Street Transit Center, from MTA

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