EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Relief is on the way for tens of thousands of New Yorkers, who are currently living a transit desert.
Construction is set to begin for the long dormant Second Avenue subway line in East Harlem.
The plan is to extend the Q line from 96 Street into East Harlem and across 125th Street to meet up with Metro North, and the 4, 5, 6 lines.
On Saturday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, and Representative Adriano Espaillat hosted United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in East Harlem to formally announce the next steps in the completion of this second phase.
"Today, we begin to right the wrongs of the past. Because when people talk about transit deserts, and also transportation equity and racial equity, they seem to forget about this area for a long time," said Hochul during Saturday's press conference. "It matters to me. It matters to your elected officials. And that's why we're so committed to this project. Because it defines us as a people, where we put our money is where our priorities are. And how all communities need to deserve to know they matter, that their communities are important to all of us."
Just last week, Representative Espaillat and Senate Majority Leader Schumer announced a full funding grant agreement for the Second Avenue Subway Phase 11 (SAS II) project issued by the Federal Transit Administration.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration signed the $3.4 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement on Saturday.
"New York City has the most extensive public transit system in America, yet there are still transit deserts that don't have easy access to the subway-including those communities where people are most likely to rely on public transit to get around," said Buttigieg. "The extension of the Second Avenue Subway will make it possible for thousands of New Yorkers to get to work and school, access healthy groceries and health care, and see their loved ones-all while easing congestion on other subway lines and reducing carbon pollution."
That $3.4 billion federal funding will bring subway access that has been promised for decades to tens of thousands of New Yorkers.
The 1.8-mile extension of the Q line along the east side of Manhattan to 125th Street will not only improve reliability and mobility, but also relieve overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue Line, which transports 200,000 riders per day.
"Thanks to the investments we made in our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Second Avenue Subway has now received the largest Capital Investment Grant in the history of the CIG program," said Senator Chuck Schumer. "These are no longer abstract. Billions of dollars passed in Congress, but now it's across the country like here in New York and in East Harlem in particular. It's becoming real: real in terms of jobs and real in terms of better transportation."
The $7.7 billion extension project is the second of four planned phases to extend the Second Avenue Subway to improve the region's public transportation network.
The project is expected to be completed in eight years.