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Cost of New York City’s Second Avenue Subway Expansion Increases to $7.7 Billion; Feds willing to put up $497 million for project serving Harlem, East Side

Costs are rising for the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway, says a federal government document suggesting a $496.8 million grant for the project.

The new estimated cost is $7.699 billion, up from the January 2022 estimate of $6.95 billion, the feds say in official documentation related to the project. The MTA updated the feds on the project in December, the document says.

The MTA did not immediately respond Thursday when asked what led to the $750 million increase in the estimated cost of the project.

When news broke Thursday of the US Department of Transportation’s intention to fund nearly $500 million for the Second Avenue Subway, MTA Chairman Janno Lieber expressed his excitement.

“I am delighted that the Biden administration recognizes the importance of this project,” Lieber said during an unrelated news conference.

“We have been promising East Harlem and Central Harlem the Second Avenue Subway since Joe Biden was 10 years old,” he added.

Phase 2 of the long-delayed effort to put more subway tracks under Manhattan’s East Side would connect an eastern section of Harlem to the Q train at 96th St. and Second Ave.

A section of the Phase Two Subway from Second Ave. near E112th St. is shown on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, in Manhattan, New York.

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It would include three new stations, at E. 106th, E. 116th and 125th streets, and would also require the construction of new electrical substations and car wash facilities.

The project, the second of four construction phases of the Second Avenue Subway, would serve parts of the city without rail service since the demolition of the elevated Second Avenue Line in the 1940s.

The federal money, now contingent on congressional approval as part of President Biden’s budget, will require matching funding from the MTA.

“There’s one thing to keep in mind,” Lieber said. “To get that grant once and for all, USDOT requires us to show that we’re going to have financial stability in our operating budget, so we can pay for the operation of the new rail line.”

That means Gov. Hochul’s budget proposal “has to go through the legislature,” Lieber said.

The Second Avenue Subway, first proposed in 1920, started in the 1970s and abandoned soon after amid a city fiscal crisis, finally opening to passengers in 2017.

That first phase, a tunnel under Second Ave. from E. 65th Street to E. 105th Street, currently operates as the three northernmost stations on the Q line.

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