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Rep. Maloney Threatens 'F' if MTA Doesn't Finish Second Ave. Subway on Time

By Shaye Weaver | May 17, 2016 8:17am
 Rep. Maloney gave the MTA an
Rep. Maloney gave the MTA an "A-" this year for its implementation of the Second Avenue Subway.
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DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver

UPPER EAST SIDE —  U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney praised the MTA's performance on the Second Avenue Subway construction this year — but threatened to give it an 'F' if it doesn't finish the first phase on schedule.

Maloney issued the MTA a "report card" on Monday, giving it an "A-" for its annual execution of the project. That's an improvement from last year's "B+."

But she said that grade could go south quickly depending on what happens when the MTA's December deadline rolls around.

"I think deadlines are important so if they don't meet the deadline, I'm going to to give them an 'F,'" she said Monday during a press conference at East 82nd Street and Second Avenue. "I'm giving them an 'A-' thinking that they'll live up to their deadline. Some people say that's a little strict, but I make the report cards. This is too long, we've waited so long."

This is the fifth "report card" she's issued for the project in an attempt to give the MTA a little extra push to stay on track.

This year, the MTA got "C's" for its construction impact mitigation, its testing of equipment, and for its transition to the East Harlem phase.

Restaurateur Sammy Musovic, who owns three eateries on the Upper East Side, said his wine bar, Vero, has seen a 35 percent drop in business since Second Avenue Subway equipment went up.

"The traffic is not what it used to be," he said. "I'm banking on this [to wrap up soon]. It would be a big plus to have it done and get Vero back on track. Having three businesses, there's been a big effect — about 20 to 25 percent — on my growth."

Musovic's son, Sammy Musovic Jr., who helps run the businesses, said construction equipment blocks foot traffic from flowing through.

"Within three blocks of us, a dozen businesses closed," he said.

MTA's attempt to drive traffic along Second Avenue with its "Shop Second Avenue" campaign wasn't enough to save those businesses, Maloney said.

The MTA is also behind in testing its equipment, "putting the opening day in jeopardy," she said. 

As of now, the MTA only has three to four months to test the equipment at each station, while they were originally allotted 10 months for the testing, officials said.

The MTA also should have allocated resources for the project's East Harlem phase a year or two ago, Maloney said.

Only recently has the project's second phase for East Harlem gotten the $1.5 billion it needed from the state and federal governments.

The MTA got high grades for the project's merit and economic benefits, communicating with the public and even for its progress in completing the first phase.

It got "B's" for planning, progress on station entrances and facilities as well as for staying on budget.

Maloney told DNAinfo New York that while she makes the report cards up, they're meant to let the MTA and the community know that she's paying attention.

"They know that watchful eyes are upon them, and that helps ensure that the project is moving forward with all deliberate speed," she said. "I have certainly seen steady improvement in many of the subjects that were weaker in the past, and I always believe that agencies perform better when they know people are looking at their work product and holding them accountable.”

A spokesman for the MTA said the agency is pleased with the grade they got and they'll bring "this same level of intensity to Phase 2."

"We’re especially pleased with the A+ grade for communicating with the community," he said.