Feds willing to kick in $497 million for NYC Second Ave. Subway project serving Harlem, Upper East Side

The federal government is prepared to chip in $496.8 million to complete the next phase of the Second Ave. Subway project, the US Department of Transportation announced Thursday.

“I am thrilled that the Biden administration recognizes the importance of this project,” MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said at a news conference.

“We’ve been promising East Harlem and central Harlem the Second Avenue subway since Joe Biden was 10 years old,” Lieber added.

A federal document that discussed the proposed $500 million grant also included a larger figure for the project’s price. The feds’ new cost estimate is $7.699 billion, up from the January 2022 estimate of $6.95 billion.

Asked about the bigger price tag Thursday, an MTA spokesman said the federal figure included financing and debt costs, and that there have not been significant cost upticks in the project.

The new budget also reflects some $300 million in inflation costs due to Trump-era delays, the spokesman said, as well as a $379 million contingency fund required by the feds.

Phase 2 of the long-delayed effort to put more subway tracks under Manhattan’s East Side would connect an eastern section of Harlem to the Q train at 96th St. and Second Ave.

It would include three new stations — at E. 106th, E. 116th and 125th streets — and would also require the building of new power substations and car cleaning facilities.

The project — the second of four phases of Second Avenue Subway construction — would bring service to parts of the city without rail service since the demolition of the Second Avenue Elevated line in the 1940s.

The federal money — which is now dependent on congressional approval as part of President Biden’s budget — will require matching funding from the MTA.

“One thing needs to be kept in mind,” Lieber said. “To land that grant once and for all, USDOT is requiring us to demonstrate that we’re going to have financial stability in our operating budget, so that we can pay for the operation of the new train line.”

That means that Gov. Hochul’s budget proposal “has to be acted on by the legislature,” Lieber said.

The Second Avenue Subway — which was first proposed in 1920, begun in the 1970s, and abandoned soon after amid a city fiscal crisis — finally opened to riders in 2017.

That first phase, a tunnel under Second Ave. from E. 65th street to E. 105th Street, currently operates as the three northernmost stations on the Q line.