Second Avenue subway will be vital asset, but ‘don’t pop the champagne corks yet,’ says de Blasio

Add Mayor Bill de Blasio to the list of New Yorkers skeptical that the Second Avenue Subway will open by the end of the year.

The mayor said during a radio interview Monday morning on WOR that he was skeptical the state-run MTA would meet the Dec. 31 opening date for the first phase of the new subway line.

“With all due respect to the hard work of the MTA, we’ll believe it the day it opens,” de Blasio said. “Don’t pop the champagne corks yet.”

The $4.5 billion project will bring three new subway stops at 72nd, 86th and 96th streets—a project nearly a century in the making that has undergone fits and starts due to lack of funding.

De Blasio acknowledged that the new line will be a vital asset for East Siders, many of whom must cram into the overcrowded 4, 5 and 6 trains of the Lexington Avenue line, which carries more than 1.3 million commuters each day.

“First of all, let’s wait until we see it,” de Blasio continued. “But look, the way it works out, it’s going to be a great advantage to straphangers on the East Side.”

The MTA on Friday committed to opening the first leg of the line on Dec. 31, despite lingering red flags from its independent engineer on the project relating to the installation and testing of elevators and escalators as well as the testing of fire alarms inside subway stations. This month, both the 72nd and 86th Street stations were reported to be behind schedule.

“There’s still a ways to go,” said MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast at an MTA board meeting Friday, “and we’re still hopeful for Dec. 31.”

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