Transportation Expansion Seen as
Key to City's Economic Growth
East Side Access, Second Avenue subway and the No. 7 subway
line extension are among transportation infrastructure
projects that are viewed as vital to New York, not only
to relieve overcrowding but to ensure the city will flourish
well into the 21st Century.
Mysore Nagaraja is hoping that by 2011, the Metropolitan
Transportation Authority will have completed a half dozen
important infrastructure projects that will allow the city
to thrive in the future.
Nagaraja, president of the MTA's newly created Capital Construction
Company and former senior vice president and chief engineer
at MTA New York City Transit, outlined details of those projects
- and the aggressive timetable for completing them - to a
New York Building Congress breakfast forum in September.
The projects are:
- East Side Access
- Second Avenue subway
- No. 7 subway line extension
- Fulton Street Transit Center
- South Ferry Terminal
- Security enhancements
"These projects will dramatically enhance commercial,
economic, residential and cultural development of New York
City and the surrounding areas," said Katherine N. Lapp,
executive director of the MTA.
The $5.3 billion East Side Access project - which will allow
Long Island Rail Road trains to go through the 63rd Street
tunnel into Grand Central Terminal - is seen as the only way
to increase the capacity of Penn Station.
The project will allow Long Island and Queens commuters
to travel directly to destinations in the Grand Central area
and avoid having to take the subway. The project is expected
to be completed in 2011.
"By doing this, we're going to enable customers from
all areas to go where they want to go," Nagaraja said.
The East Side Access project will increase LIRR capacity
to Manhattan by 50 percent - the only way to bring more workers
into Manhattan from eastern Queens and Long Island, he added.
With trains from the LIRR, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit,
Penn Station is the busiest commuter railroad station in the
So far, five construction contracts with a combined value
of $176 million have been awarded and total contract commitments
worth $782 million have been made on the East Side Access
project. The MTA/local share of funding is 91 percent with
federal funding at 9 percent.
Construction is underway on the vertical tunnel shaft in
Queens, the Highbridge yard and shop for Metro-North in the
Bronx, the Arch Street yard and shop for LIRR in Queens and
Grand Central terminal east-yard improvements.
Although $1.5 billion has been allocated for the project,
funding is not entirely in place.
The $17 billion Second Avenue subway project is an 8.5-mi.,
two-track line along Second Avenue from 125th Street to the
financial district in Lower Manhattan. It includes 16 new
stations and a flexing rail connection to the 63rd Street
An environmental impact study will be completed in a few
months. Although there is $1.05 billion funding for the project
in the MTA 2000-4 capital program, the project is not yet
completely funded, Nagaraja said.
Because the $2 billion No. 7 subway line extension project
is viewed as critical to the development of the Far West Side
of Manhattan, the MTA is hoping the city will pay for it.
In this project, the subway line, which currently ends at
Times Square, would be extended along 42nd Street and down
11th Avenue to the Jacob Javits Center area.
The city is in the process of developing a rezoning plan
for the Far West Side - which planners view as an area ripe
for future commercial and residential development.
The project is in the design phase with the MTA in discussions
with stakeholders such as neighboring property owners, Jacob
Javits Center operators and the New York Jets.
"The whole idea is that by building the subway, the
city can grow on the West Side," Nagaraja said.
The federal government is funding the downtown projects
that Nagaraja is overseeing. The $750 million Fulton Street
Transit Center will link six different subway stations built
by different private companies between 1905 and 1933. About
250,000 passengers use these stations each day.
The new transit center will have more surface access points,
a new pedestrian concourse under Dey Street, new and expanded
station mezzanines and passageways, and a high-visibility
entrance at Fulton Street and Broadway. The project is expected
to be completed by 2007.
"Right now to find the entrance you have to look for
a barber shop," Nagaraja joked.
Plans for the South Ferry Terminal include building a new
two-track station underneath State Street so that all cars
on the train can load and unload. Problems at the station
with its current configuration can cause delays along the
No. 1/9, 2 and 3 lines.
The $400 million project is expected to be completed in
Nagaraja is also overseeing $600 million in security enhancements
that have been funded by the federal government. This program
will cover the design and construction of systemwide security-related