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New Push for Second Avenue Subway
BY DON HEISEL

At a meeting she chaired on January 15, Representative Carolyn Maloney said that an important lesson to be learned from the September 11 attack was that subways are essential for routine everyday life, but even more so in time of a serious crisis. New efforts to build the long-delayed Second Avenue subway are more urgent than ever.

Planning for a Second Avenue subway began some 20 years before the Second Avenue el was demolished in 1942. Though nothing came of the extensive planning, there is action once again. Construction is now scheduled to begin in 2004.

Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields and City Council Member Eva Moskowitz, who represents the southern segment of Turtle Bay and Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields attended the meeting and underscored the broad support the Second Avenue line enjoys.

In its 2000-2004 Capital Plan, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has allocated $1.05 billion for the line's design and environmental analysis. Plans are for it to run from 125th Street to the southern tip of Manhattan, running under Second Avenue all the way to Houston Street. Current thinking calls for stations at the northern and southern boundaries of Turtle Bay, around 54th and 42nd Streets.

Peter Cafiero, MTA Director of Rail Service Design, told the meeting that as much of the construction as possible would be done by boring the tunnel beneath the street, using technology similar to that used for Manhattan's new Water Tunnel Number Three. That would minimize disruption at the street level.

Nevertheless, as might be expected for a project with its long melancholy history of non-achievement, the road ahead is far from smooth. The program calls for much of the funding to come from Washington. Both Rep. Maloney and Mr. Cafiero stressed that in Washington there is fierce competition with other cities for mass transit funding. New York City will have to work hard to get the funds for the new line.

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