MTA Picks Up the (Big) Tab for 2nd Ave. Subway Castaways

By Maria Eugenia Miranda
|  Tuesday, Jun 22, 2010  |  Updated 1:12 PM EDT
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MTA Picks Up the (Big) Tab for 2nd Ave. Subway Castaways

Excavation beginning on the southbound Second Avenue Subway tunnel

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Residents in 28 apartments along the Second Avenue subway construction project will be moving out this Saturday on the MTA’s tab.

The transit agency will be starting structural remediation work on apartment buildings in the area and needs residents to vacate for safety reasons. Tenants will be able to receive a $4,810 stipend up front for a studio apartment, $6,000 for a one-bedroom, and $9,000 for a two-bedroom place, in addition to a daily food allowance of $40 per person. Another option for residents is to stay at the extended-stay luxury hotel Marmara Manhattan on East 94th Street, instead of moving elsewhere with the living stipend.

Moving expenses will also be covered. The tally for relocating residents is expected to add up to $6 million to $8 million, according to MTA officials.

MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said the MTA is confident the structural remediation project will take about 30 days.

“You can never predict the future, but we are confident that it will take 30 days,” said Donovan. “If the project takes longer than 30 days, then they will continue to get a daily amount for the stipend.”

With the MTA coping with an $800 million budget shortfall this year, critics point out that the living stipends the MTA is doling out may be too much. But Donovan argued that MTA officials calculated amounts that would keep the construction project moving.

“It’s in the MTA’s financial interest that this project move forward without delay, and the stipends for relocation are designed to be less expensive than a potential delay to the Second Avenue line,” said Donovan.

The total budget for the Second Avenue line is $4.5 billion.

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