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De Blasio Expresses Concern After Funding Problems Delay 2nd Avenue Subway Project

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to see the second phase of the Second Avenue subway project get underway, despite funding problems.

The first phase of the Second Avenue subway line -- extending from 63rd Street up to 96th Street -- is on track to be completed by the end of next year.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority announced Tuesday that the second phase of the project -- which would extend the line up to 125th Street in East Harlem -- will be delayed beyond 2019.

The MTA's latest capital program includes $535 million to start phase 2, which is $1 billion less than what was originally proposed.

"I do think it came as a surprise to many people that there was a change in the funding and I think that has to be reconsidered to make sure that everything is being done to move phase 2 -- despite the challenges and the complexities -- as quickly as it can be done," de Blasio said Tuesday.

The mayor recently increased the city's contribution to the MTA's latest capital plan to a record $2.5 billion, and the state is contributing more than $8 billion, CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported.

MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said in a statement, "This reflects the work we can realistically accomplish in the next four years given the regulatory and engineering constraints on heavy construction in a densely populated section of Manhattan... Governor Cuomo has made clear that he would like us to accelerate work on the Second Avenue subway, and we are actively looking for ways to deliver the project faster."

There was mixed reaction from people in the neighborhood about the delay.

Nikolla Nicaj at Eagle Tile and Home Center is glad for the phase 2 delay after seeing how Upper East Side businesses have suffered during the first phase of construction.

"Business is bad enough without getting disturbed and once you get disturbed, you go out of business," Nicaj said.

But for others looking to cut their commute time, work can't start soon enough.

"It would be a big help, would be less crowds and I'd be able to get home earlier," said East Harlem resident Jose Colon.

"It would be a huge help for the Second Avenue subway to be finished," resident Alex Goosmann said.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer joined elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, at a news conference Tuesday calling for more funding.

Stringer said New Yorkers cannot wait another 100 years for the subway to get to Harlem.

Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney and Charles Rangel also sent a letter to the MTA chair, asking for reassurance that this project is not being placed on the back burner.


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