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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has begun procuring key services necessary for Phase II of the Second Avenue Subway extension in New York City. MTA Capital Construction Co. is issuing requests for proposals for the first three contracts, which include design, environmental and community outreach work, agency officials said in a press release. The largest of the contracts is for an engineering and design consultant. The contract includes an update of the preliminary engineering design to reflect "current and design operational criteria of MTA New York City Transit," agency officials said. "Our goal is to fast-track Phase II to every extent possible, and if these efforts to speed up the project timetable are successful, the MTA will amend our capital program and seek additional funds to begin heavy construction sooner," said MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast. The project's second phase will extend the subway to East Harlem in Manhattan and include three new stations.The project's first phase is expected to open in December, with three new stations at 72nd, 86th and 96th streets and an expanded station at 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. Once service begins, the Q train will operate on the Second Avenue Line, MTA officials said.