Transit Authority

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The New York Sun

Q: How many times am I going to read an article about the Second Avenue subway going forward with construction? It seems like they’ve been saying this for 100 years. How much construction have they done, if any?

A: For more than 75 years, there has been talk of a Second Avenue subway line. But in New York City, every transportation project requires more money than any single political entity has to offer. What’s needed is an alliance of interests and as a result, the projects are delayed. In the words of the head of the Straphanger’s Campaign, Gene Russianoff, the Second Avenue Subway is the “most famous thing that’s never been built in New York City.” Despite a sluggish start (to say the least) there has been some progress on the someday-to-be two-track subway from 125th Street to Lower Manhattan. When finished, the new line will run 8.5 miles and take pressure off the packed 4, 5, and 6 trains. Observers say the line may be called the T.

The project design began in 2001, and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials expect construction to begin in 2007. The final design was given the go-ahead by the Federal Transit Administration on April 18. At least $1 billion of the $3.6 billion needed to build the subway has been raised through the city, state, and federal government. The MTA is not far from a Full-Funding Grant Agreement, which will guarantee a steady flow of funds over the next several years.

The risk, Mr. Russianoff said, is that the city has too many programs going at once. East Side Access, the AirTrain to John F. Kennedy International Airport, and the extension of the 7 line are only three of more than a dozen major transportation projects competing for funds. But he is hopeful the MTA will break ground on the project soon.

How do police talk on their radios in the subways? I can’t get cell phone reception. How do they get radio signals?

Police communicate on a number of frequencies, from precinct to citywide emergency channels. Most officers only talk on precinct-level frequencies, but the transit police have their own frequency. Installed throughout the subway system are transmitters for emergency personnel and transit workers.

Most police radios are able to switch to the transit frequency when they go into the subway system.

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