Federal Funds Can Kick-Start LIRR Line
In a letter written this week by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, he’s asked Governor Cuomo to seriously consider dedicating federal transportation funds to jumpstart the revitalization of the former LIRR Rockaway Beach Rail Line.
“Improving public transportation options for residents of Southern Queens and Rockaway is one of my top priorities,” said Goldfeder. “This funding source has been used for several major NYC projects to improve travel and commute times for residents in other boroughs and should now be used to completely restore the Rockaway Beach Rail Line and improve public transportation op-tions for every Queens resident.”
The Federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 created a dedicated Mass Transit Account within the Highway Trust Fund, which enables urban, suburban and rural areas to maintain, expand and improve their public transportation systems.
The new surface transportation reauthorization legislation will provide New York State with $1.2 billion per year of the formula funds.
Moreover, New York State’s highway and transit programs present eligibility for federal discretionary funds to potentially assist in making the restoration of the Rockaway Rail Line a reality, Goldfeder noted.
In addition, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer recently announced that he has successfully fought for an additional $200 million in direct formula funds despite numerous efforts by the House of Representatives to take away dedicated revenues from the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust fund.
Despite limited transportation options, Queens has recently seen a large population and construction boom.
The opening of the Resorts World Casino at the Aqueduct Racetrack, the renaissance of the Rockaway Peninsula as a tourist haven and the growing population, all indicate that the restoration of this rail line is needed now more than ever, Goldfeder says.
The Assemblyman has already gathered more than 3,000 signatures from residents in favor of restoring the railroad line.
He’s asking the Governor and MTA to consider every option to restore the old line because once rehabilitated, there would be an increase in the number of visitors to Queens, which would help create stable jobs and allow small businesses to thrive, Goldfeder believes.
“I urge Governor Cuomo and the MTA to consider allocating a portion of the federal funding to completely restore the abandoned Rockaway Beach Rail Line,” said Goldfeder. “In our tough economy, it’s important that we invest in infrastructure projects that will not only put thousands of residents to work, but also prepare Queens for future growth and expansion.”