New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials on Friday took the first ride on the 7 line extension, six years after workers started construction.
The $2.4 billion project, which is set to be completed next summer, is the first subway expansion project in more than six decades that is funded by the city. The extension of the 7 line is a key component of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project, officials contend.
With the roughly one-mile-long extension, the 7 line will continue to a new terminus near 34th Street and 11th Avenue on Manhattan’s Far West Side. Currently, the 21-station line terminates at Times Square-42nd Street on the Manhattan end.
The “historic ride is yet another symbol of how New York City has become a place where big projects can get done,” Bloomberg said in a news release. “This project is the linchpin of an ambitious transit-oriented, mixed-use development that is already transforming Manhattan’s Far West Side, and it demonstrates our Administration’s commitment over the past 12 years to invest in infrastructure that will allow our city to grow for generations to come.”
The last city-funded subway extension dates to December 1950, according to the MTA. Then, the Queens Boulevard line was extended to Jamaica-179th Street.
“Today, the Far West Side is not so far away anymore. The subways are our bloodlines –they literally grow the city – which is why we made the extension of the 7 line into the once-desolate far west side the heart of the Group of 35 report in 2001,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a news release. “We knew that if we built it – they would come. And ‘they’ means jobs, jobs, jobs, and an expanded tax base for the city, and a gleaming new mixed-use neighborhood where once there was only emptiness and promise. With the completion of the 7 line extension, it’s full speed ahead for development and economic growth on the far side of Manhattan.”
Construction began in December 2007.