Maloney Says Second Avenue Subway a Trump Infrastructure Priority

US Representative Carolyn Maloney discussing the Trump administration's commitment to the Second Avenue Subway project at a January 26 press conference. | JACKSON CHEN
US Representative Carolyn Maloney discussing the Trump administration’s commitment to the Second Avenue Subway project at a January 26 press conference. | JACKSON CHEN

BY JACKSON CHEN | Echoing press reports from earlier this week, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney confirmed today that President Donald Trump and his team have listed Phases 2 and 3 of the Second Avenue Subway among their infrastructure priorities for federal funding.

According to documents obtained by McClatchy’s Kansas City Star and The News Tribune and reported about on January 24, Trump’s preliminary list of infrastructure priorities totals around $137.5 billion and includes three projects within New York City and another one elsewhere in the state. With $14.2 billion in funding earmarked on the list, the Second Avenue Subway’s Phases 2 and 3 would first expand the new line up to Harlem to link to the 125th Street Station of the Lexington Avenue 4, 5, and 6 lines, and then extend work south toward Houston Street.

Other projects in the city on the new president’s infrastructure list include the Gateway Program that would create a new train tunnel underneath the Hudson River, linking Penn Station and Newark, and the Champlain Hudson Power Express that would bring wind and water energy into the city’s electricity network. Further north, the Peace Bridge that connects Buffalo and Canada was also included in the leaked list.

“Everything has to start with a plan, and the first step is the infrastructure priorities that this administration will be backing,” Maloney said. “Fifty projects are on this list – I have not seen this list – I just know that the Second Avenue Subway is on it. My job is to get it on the list and keep it on the list.”

The congressmember said she spoke directly with Trump’s transition team, who assured her that project was on the president’s priority list, with more than $14 billion in federal funding allocated for the Second Avenue Subway’s next two phases.

While the list disclosed this week doesn’t guarantee funding – in fact, it has yet to be confirmed officially by the administration – Maloney considers it a victory that the MTA project made the list.

“The first step is getting on the list,” Maloney said. “I’m thrilled we’re on the list. We’re competing with every project across the great United States of America.”

The congressmember also confirmed that, in connection with Phase 2, the MTA has signed two contracts, one for environmental review and another for preliminary engineering and design, and has issued a request for proposals to tackle the community outreach portion. Phase 2 was recently approved for the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts Program, laying the groundwork, so to speak, for the Second Avenue Subway to secure federal funding. Maloney added that the federal agency told her the Second Avenue Subway was the “biggest and best project in the entire United States.”

The congressmember said she would be working to ensure the two phases remain on the administration’s list of priorities, but would not shy away from challenging some of the president’s controversial actions in his first few days in office.

“What’s next is I’m going back to Washington to work on trying to reverse different policies that Trump announced that I oppose,” Maloney said. “There’s a lot to respond to. He did a lot of actions that we have to review and see what they mean and see what we can do to mitigate them.”

The congressmember told the Manhattan Express that what particularly concerned her were Trump’s ban on federal funding for aid groups that provide reproductive health and abortion counseling to women globally, his threat to defund sanctuary cities like New York City, and his immigration crackdown that would suspend Syrian refugee admission as well as entry into the US by citizens from seven majority Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Maloney said she would be working with other Democratic members of Congress in responding to Trump’s policies. She was more optimistic, however, on the issue of the Second Avenue Subway’s funding, which she said seems to have bipartisan support.

“I’m looking forward to working on it,” Maloney said. “It seems to be an area that Democrats, Republicans, and the administration are united on so it should be easier to do.”

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