Silver: Don't Touch My Subway

The other bit of news from this morning’s Association for a Better New York breakfast was that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver took a stance on the No. 7 subway extension, making it clear the city, and not the M.T.A., better pay for the whole thing.

The extension, which would bring the line west to 11th Avenue and down to 34th Street, is necessary before the
Hudson Yards area gets turned into an office district, but the M.T.A. adopted the project assuming that the city was going to pay for more or less the whole thing with tax revenues from the new office towers. Last week, though, the city capped its commitment to $2 billion, which about covers the present estimate for construction costs, with another $100 million for overruns.

Silver, though, doubted that the deal was final. “That remains to be seen,” he told reporters after his speech this morning.

Silver’s leverage is considerable–he has the power to veto any authorization through the M.T.A. Capital Review Board–and his interest in protecting money allocated to the Second Avenue Subway, which will one day run through his Lower Manhattan district, is keen.

“If the city believes that the extension of the No. 7 subway to 34th Street is a priority,” he said, “it should make it clear that no diversions of M.T.A. resources to that extension will be required and that no additional M.T.A. burden is a surprise to be revealed later.”

-Matthew Schuerman