The Daily News reports that the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway will run from 96th to 63rd Streets, connecting to the existing Q line at 57th and Broadway. The phase would add just four new stations (96th & 2nd, 86th & 2nd, 72nd & 2nd, and 63rd & Lex). Construction could be underway by the end of this year, and the extended Q line could be in service in about seven years.
The full-length Second Avenue Subway ("SAS"), from 125th St to Hanover Sq, could be completed by 2020 if all of the funding comes through, but New Yorkers have every reason to be skeptical. Several tunnel sections for the line were completed in the early 1970s, but were never used because the city ran out of money. A Long Island Railroad tunnel under the East River at 63rd St was built around the same time, and it still has never carried a single passenger. (A project called East Side Access, which will finally put that tunnel to use by bringing LIRR trains into Grand Central, is still years from completion.)
However, it seems entirely reasonable to phase in the SAS's benefits, and the section from 96th to 63rd is the most logical starting point. It allows the SAS to connect to the existing unused connection to the Broadway Line, and it will reduce crowding on the Lexington Avenue Line by giving UES reidents another way to get downtown.
Details of the plan should appear on the MTA website within the next several weeks.