2nd Phase of Second Avenue Subway Construction Delayed, Frustrating East Harlem Officials and Residents

Mayor Bill de Blasio is expressing dismay in a decision to delay construction on a new subway line.

The MTA announced that the second phase of the Second Ave. subway would be delayed beyond 2019.

The delay of that phase, which will stretch between 96th and 125th St. in Manhattan, outraged transit advocates and local officials. Construction on the second phase of the three East Harlem stations won't start until 2020, despite assurances from de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo last week that it was on track. 

Comptroller Scott Stringer said "promises have been broken," as elected officials blasted the MTA for suddenly moving money out of the capital budget. 

"This speaks so resoundingly of inequality," said state Sen. Jose Serrano.

De Blasio on Thursday called for the delay and the MTA's decision to cut $1 billion from its capital plan to be "reconsidered." The mayor recently increased the city's contribution to the MTA to a record $2.5 billion. 

"Suddenly East Harlem gets cut out," said state Sen. Liz Krueger. "It's a bait and switch. I don't even get it." 

A MTA spokesman said the phase was delayed because a tunnel boring machine wouldn't be available. He added that time, not cash, is the real issue.

"If we had all the money in the world, we couldn't have those tunnel boring machines moving by 2019," said Adam Lisberg. 

Meanwhile, those who live and work in East Harlem must continue their frustrating commutes.

"I walk to Lenox every day, back and forth 20 minutes," said resident Alexa Laiacona. 

"It would be helpful to have a station right here instead of walking two miles," said Eric Barbosa. 

The first phase of the Second Avenue subway, from 63rd St to 96th St, is slated to open next year.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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