A surge of Subway building reminiscent of the 1930s could engulf New York City under a grandiose scheme dubbed MetroLink by the Regional Plan Association. It would cost $13bn, add 20% to the network length, serve new areas of the city and add capacity for 250000 daily riders, says RPA.

The long discussed Second Avenue subway would finally be completed, but instead of just serving Manhattan the route would start in the Bronx and continue to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. There would be branches to a new line through Manhattan’s lower East Side and to the existing Queens Boulevard subway, plus a connection to Long Island Rail Road tracks that would be extended to JFK Airport, requiring hybrid trains. RPA claims the programme could be completed in 13 years; senior fellow Jeff Zupan says ’there are jobs that will not materialise without the capacity to get more people to work.’

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani called it a ’pipe dream’ though ’the idea of doing something with the Second Avenue subway, maybe on a more modest scale, is not.’ He wants to extend the No 7 Flushing line west about 1·5 km from Times Square to the site of a proposed football stadium at 33rd Street and 11th Avenue. ’The cost would be well within anything the MTA presently has’, said Giuliani, putting the price tag at less than $500m; other experts claim it would be double.