Today’s news:

MTA delays 2nd Ave. subway construction, again

What has become known as the most famous subway never built has again lost some of its momentum.

The line, which straphangers have long hoped would ease critical crowding on the Lexington Avenue line, had been scheduled for completion in 2015. But the latest estimates in a review of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Construction Co. indicate 2017 might be more like it.

And transit sources say the East Side Access to bring Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal will most likely open no sooner than 2016 rather than 2015.

The delay on the Second Avenue subway will cost an additional $100 million, bringing the total price tag to at least $4.4 billion.

When the Second Avenue subway was dedicated April 12, 2007, deep beneath 99th Street and Second Avenue in a tunnel left over from an earlier attempt to build the line, the opening date was announced as 2013.

Until last week, the line had been scheduled to open in 2015.

Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, called for an investigation of the delay by the MTA inspector general.

Michael Horodniceanu, chairman of the MTA Capital Construction Co., told the New York Times, “Our original schedules were extremely optimistic.”

“This is an insult to neighborhood residents, commuters, taxpayers and especially small business owners. Storefronts all over Manhattan are vacant because of the recession. How can small businesses along Second Avenue be expected to survive month after month and now year after year blocked by monumental constructioni” Stringer asked.

Destruction of the Third Avenue el and other elevated lines brought the need for the Second Avenue subway.

First proposals for a Second Avenue subway came in the early 1920s and by 1929 the project was estimated to cost as much as $86 million. By 1940, the cost estimate had risen to $504 million and the project was sidelined by World War II.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place in 1972 at Second Avenue and East 103rd Street and several stations were built before the financial crisis that brought the city near bankruptcy and halted work on the subway.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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