New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney remains cautiously optimistic that the first phase of the Second Avenue subway will open on time in December.
Armed with a pointing stick and a giant progress report card on the corner of 82nd Street and Second Avenue Monday, Maloney issued her occassional grade, an A-, for the MTA’s construction development of the new East Side subway.
“This is certainly going to improve quality of life, economic and business development,” she said. “This is the first brand new major subway being built in the United States in 60 years.”
Maloney bases her grades on a variety of factors, including communication with the public, construction management and funding. This year’s A- is an improvement from her last grade, a B+, issued in 2013. Maloney said she boosted her grade because the MTA has, thus far, remained on time and on budget for the $4.5 billion, 2.3-mile first phase.
The MTA has increased its effort to meet a December opening after the agency had fallen behind on track installation and construction of entrances at the future 72nd Street station, as well as bringing power to the 86th Street station. Consultants caution that there is a “moderate risk” of the agency missing the December launch.
And if it does? Maloney said her grade drops to an F. “I believe in deadlines,” she said.
Maloney’s biggest criticisms relate to MTA equipment testing, the transition into Phase Two and lessening of the construction’s impact.
“I’ve seen business drop by 35 percent because of the project,” said Sammy Musovic, who owns three restaurants above the subway, including one where Maloney hosted transit reporters for lunch before the press conference.
“Despite our efforts, we’ve lost some businesses along Second Avenue,” Maloney said. “The MTA needs to do a better job accommodating these shops during this kind of work.”