2005-07-29 / Community

$1.8 Mil Slated For BCVFD Firehouse

By Howard Schwach

A House-Senate Conference Committee passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill on Thursday after 22 months of debate and compromise.

In that bill is $1 million that Senator Hillary Clinton secured to “improve the traffic flow on Noel Road, between Church and Cross Bay Boulevards, including the work necessary to demolish and reconstruct the firehouse facility in Broad Channel.”

This is in addition to the funds provided by Congressman Anthony Weiner for a total of about $1.8 million, according to a spokesperson for Clinton.

The total bill, often called the “Omnibus Transportation Bill” by insiders, will cost taxpayers $286.5 billion.

An earlier version of the bill, coming in at more than $295 billion, was scrapped under the threat of veto by President George Bush.

The president said that he would veto any bill that came in at more than $284 million, but it is widely reported that his negotiators have already approved the new expenditures and he is not expected to veto the bill.

That would mean a new firehouse for the Broad Channel Volies on a piece of land they already own on Cross Bay Boulevard, adjacent to the American Legion Hall.

When Congressman Anthony Weiner first announced that the money was in the House version of the bill, he said, “The new facility will allow the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department to keep an eye on the neighborhood and also be available if there ever is an emergency at JFK Airport.”

At the time, newly-elected Chief Thomas Larkin said that the money would “put us over the top and insure that the firehouse will be built.”

Edward O’Hare, the organization’s president was practically speechless when told of the bill’s passage.

“That is just great, great,” O’Hare said, pointing out that the organization is necessary to the health and safety of not only Broad Channel, but Rockaway as well.

“We’re the first line of defense out here,” he said. “This is just great.”

According to a spokesperson for Senator Clinton, the Senator served as a member of the Conference Committee and Senator Charles Schumer was a member of the Banking and Finance Committee, which controlled the transit funding and tax aspects of the bill.

“Both of our Senators worked hard to make sure that provisions important to New York were retained in the Conference Report the spokesperson said.”

The present Broad Channel firehouse on Noel Road was constructed more than 100 years ago and has become delapidated over the intervening years.

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