The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
New York State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo,
Phase Il of the Second Avenue Subway ("SAS") is critical to the development and future health of my community. We are writing to ask that you lead a tour of the Phase Il extension with myself, other local elected officials, and community stakeholders in East Harlem to update us on your goals and immediate objectives of this critical project. Your leadership during Phase I of the SAS project was instrumental in its completion. It is even more important now given the opening of Phase I that we harness the momentum so that we can complete this equally important Phase Il.
Community organizations, local advocates, elected officials from all levels of government, and the residents of East Harlem strongly back the SAS Phase Il extension — which as you know — would bring the Q train from the existing 96th Street stop to 125 th Street. This has been long promised to residents of East Harlem, many of whom live in transit deserts that continue to deny its residents and my constituents access to job opportunities and educational advancement that stymies economic activity and commerce; and prevents reasonable access to hospitals and medical care, particularly for seniors. The completion of the Phase Il extension of the Second Avenue Subway will be invaluable to the constituents we both serve and demonstrate that it is more than just wealthy Upper East Siders who will benefit from these large-scale Metropolitan Transportation Authority projects. For my community, this extension will connect strap-hangers to bus services connecting to LaGuardia Airport and Metro North line that connects New York City to several counties outside of the Five Boroughs.
We know the value and positive returns from a reliable and growing transportation system. Under your leadership, Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway project created 16,000 jobs, generated $842 million in wages, and produced $2.87 billion in economic activity during construction. Real Estate and small businesses in the surrounding areas have seen the return on investment with local retailers experiencing about a 30 percent increase in foot traffic in stores and restaurants along the new line since Phase I opened. Further, overcrowding has also decreased on the 4/5/6 Lexington Avenue lines by 27 percent.
As we prepare for a new legislative session in Congress and Albany and move forward with our New Starts funding application, it's critical that we put forward a unified front to our Federal colleagues and the Administration that this project deserves funding. In 2019, we will continue to be ardent supporters of funding Phase Il construction and hope that you may use your platform during your State of the State Address to highlight your commitment through the State Budget and sharing the importance of this endeavor.
In addition to leading a tour of the Phase Il extension of the SAS, we would like to extend an invitation to host a joint press conference with colleagues at local, city, state, and federal government to demonstrate our unified support and show the Federal Transit Administration how committed we are at to the success of this project. The 105th Street tunnel would serve as a compelling backdrop for the press conference. Based on the urgent need to deliver this message and amplify the issue, we believe that a best date may take place during the last week of January 2019 or first week of February 2019.
We cannot allow Phase Il of the Second Avenue Subway to fall by the wayside. Your presence on this issue will set the right tone around the prioritization of this local project for Congress. As you were a galvanizing force throughout Phase I, we think this is a great opportunity for your continued participation and leadership as we embark on securing funding for Phase Il.
Its high-time to alleviate the strain on riders and help the East Harlem community prosper and thrive. Please contact my Chief of Staff, Ms. Aneiry Batista at Aneiry.Batista@mail.house.gov or (212) 663-3900 with any questions and concerns. we look forward to your response.
Alphonso David, Counsel to the Governor of New York; The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Robert F. Mujica Jr., Director of the New York State Division of the Budget