Issue 521 February 13, 2006

Where in the World is the # 7 Extension?

Little has been publicly said about the status of the No. 7 subway extension project, from Times Square to West 34th Street and 11th Avenue, since it was approved as part of the Hudson Yards rezoning in 2004, along with the ill-starred West Side football stadium.

   The No. 7 extension and new development on the West Side are linked, because big developers will not go too far west in Midtown without subway access, and the subway extension is supposed to be paid for with future city revenue generated by the new development.

   The financing scheme has long raised eyebrows among fiscal watchdogs, who worry that the city will be deep debt if revenue expectations are not reached.  Is the city going ahead with the project, despite these concerns?

   Some reports say yes, a new West Side plan complete with subway is full steam ahead. At least one consultant has told the Campaign that the city is pressing for planning work to be completed. Others say no, the plan is stalled. To rundown recent news:

● In his State of the City address, Mayor Bloomberg said construction of the #7 extension will begin this year. Newsday said Bloomberg’s just-proposed budget retains the earlier financing plan for the #7.

● A Crain’s NY Business story said overall plans for the West Side, including the #7 extension, are lagging, partly because too many agencies are overseeing #7’s implementation. For example, the MTA is coordinating construction of the western side of the rail yards and the #7 tunnel, while the city-run Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation is charged with building a platform over the rail yards. 

●  Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff told Newsday the #7 is on track, even though “a crucial agreement still needs to be reached with state transit officials over how the rail-yard development will proceed.”

● There have been vague reports of lawsuits against eminent domain proceedings associated with the #7 extension, though nothing has been said publicly about whether this is the case or whether it will slow the subway project.




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