1999-05-29 / Letters

Good Move CB 14

Dear Editor:

The Committee for Better Transit and the Concerned Neighbors of Southeast Queens want to express their gratitude to the members of Queens Community Board 14 - the Rockaways - for voting overwhelmingly to oppose the construction of the Van Wyck "el" segment of the Port Authority's AirTrain Kennedy rail project at their meeting on May 11, 1999. In sharp contrast to Community Boards 9, 10 and 12, whose members caved in to pressure and misrepresentations from a few elected officials and voted to favor the project, board members in the Rockaways had a frank and open discussion and reached their decision without outside pressure.

Not only would travelers from the Rockaways find the Van Wyck Expressway- a major access route to their community - becoming an even worse traffic nightmare during the three to five years of construction of the "el", but their hopes of seeing the disused Rockaway cut-off restored would be greatly diminished if all available funds were committed to the Van Wyck boondoggle. The Port Authority plans to use $300 million of general taxpayer funds to build the on-airport portion of the AirTrain, a project favored by all parties. By not building the $600 million Van Wyck el, which was to be paid for entirely with Federal Aviation funds derived from the three dollar departure tax, the Port Authority can redirect these funds to the on-airport segments, releasing its own funds to restore the cut-off.

The Committee for Better Transit's APPLE CORRIDOR plan proposes using this four and one-half mile cut-off, an extraordinary municipal asset now going to waste, for airport trains to Manhattan and also for Rockaway trains to midtown. The Rockaway trains would make stops in Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Forest Park to serve these communities in Central Queens. The Port Authority's costly and disruptive plan is specifically designed to discourage Queens residents from using it. Fortunately the City Council has recognized the Port Authority's folly for what it is and has published a report "The Train to the Plane or Money Down the Drain?". The Council must now have the courage of its convictions, like the members of CB 14, and vote against the corrupting power of the Port Authority when the issue is considered early in June.

Congratulations again to the conscientious members of the Rockaways’ Community Board 14.

GEORGE HAIKALIS
Committee for Better Transit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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