Saturday, February 11, 2012

YEAH! New York City building Second Avenue Subway

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded a $261.9 million contract for the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway project in New York City. This contract
includes the installation of track, train signals, communications systems, and traction power between 105th Street and the existing subway station at 63rd Street. Additional project work includes modification of existing facilities and systems to ensure connectivity with the Second Avenue Subway system. The joint venture will also construct three rail crossovers along this route, allowing trains to switch tracks and therefore increasing line flexibility.
The Second Avenue Subway was first approved in 1929 - between the two World Wars. The line was based on a city-wide transit plan released in 1919. The First Great Depression led the City to postpone actual construction. A 1967 Transportation Bond Issue of $2.5 billion got construction going again, but NYC's fiscal crisis in the 1970s caused construction to cease again after three tunnel segments had been completed. New York voters passed another transportation bond issue in November 2005, and ceremonial groundbreaking for the Second Avenue Subway was conducted on April 12, 2007.

72nd Street station cavern as of January 2012. (Source = Wikipedia)

These are the types of big construction projects that are needed to get the USA economy unstuck. Back in March 2009, to demonstrate how inadequate the $750 billion stimulus package was, when measured against actual infrastructure needs, I wrote $3.195 trillion -TRILLION - for urban RAIL transit, arguing that
To build adequate urban rail transit systems in the 39 largest U.S. cities, where nearly half of all Americans live, is going to require $3.195 trillion. That is just construction costs – it does not include the cost of new rolling stock and maintenance rail vehicles. It is a project that can create 7.5 million jobs a year, for ten years. And it is a project that we most assuredly will not even initiate so long as we are content with politics and business as usual.
I included a map of the Chicago rail transit system, with dotted yellow lines showing how much can be built to provide a truly comprehensive passenger rail service comparable to the density of service cities like Paris, London, Tokyo, and New York provide.

Spread over ten or fifteen years, that's just $300 billion a year, to completely transform the USA economy -- and make a decisive break from our dependence on burning fossil fuels by finally providing a serious alternative to transportation by private automobile. In Manhattan, and in European cities with similarly dense rail transit systems, less than a quarter of personal trips are by car.

It's not that there's no work to be done. It's just that the banksters won't allow investment because they don't see fat enough profits rent extraction.

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