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N.Y. plan's bumpy ride

July 14, 2007|Steve Hymon | Times Staff Writer

Building a subway isn't difficult and pricey just in Los Angeles.

Even New York City, which has the nation's most extensive subway system, has not been able to build a new line for half a century for all the usual reasons: price, logistics and lack of political support.

Take the long-sought 2nd Avenue subway, which planners in the 1920s conceived as a way to relieve traffic on Manhattan's congested East Side.

After two false starts in the '20s and '70s, ground was broken again on the subway this April. If all goes as planned, the first three miles of the 8.5-mile line are expected to open in 2013. The cost of that segment alone is about $3.8 billion -- of which the federal government is expected to kick in $1 billion, with the state and city covering the rest.

But the subway could run into trouble again.

The entire line is expected to cost more than $16 billion, and funding is far from assured. Still, New York decided to forge ahead in April, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg making the following, succinct argument at the groundbreaking.

"This is an investment in our future," Bloomberg said, "that we can't afford not to make."

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steve.hymon@latimes.com

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