WE MUST ACT NOW, OR THE ROCKAWAY BEACH LINE MAY BE DESTROYED … AND ITS BENEFITS LOST FOR GOOD!
Since Hurricane Sandy, a group of New Yorkers, with support from some Forest Hills residents (who unlike Rockaway residents, enjoy fast LIRR service to midtown Manhattan) have convinced Governor Cuomo to fund a study into building a “Queensway” biking/walking trail on the Rockaway Beach Rail route.
The “Queensway” would subvert any chance to restore the RBL and with it, any benefits of economic opportunity, cleaner environment, and reduced traffic congestion, that would benefit many more people.
Meanwhile, other transit advocacy groups have joined with State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, Congressmen Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries to call for the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Rail line.
Costs and Funding of course are critical. The population of Queens is about 2.3 million people, just a bit less than the 2.6 million who live in Brooklyn but Brooklyn has much better subway service.
The MTA has been extremely reluctant to provide any serious estimate of the cost to reactivate the QueensRail™ line but we can consider some sources of funding. The July/August 2015 issue of Car & Travel, the New York AAA club’s publication had an story on page 6 that discussed how transportation money was being spent. The Port Authority has spent $4 billion on the World Trade Center Transportation Hub while the MTA spent $1.4 billion on Fulton Center both of which merely made existing rail facilities look a bit nicer but provide no new facilities. And this isn’t counting the billions that the Port Authority gave to Governor Christie so he wouldn’t have to raise taxes to pay for fixing the Pulaski Skyway. QueensRail™ wouldn’t come close to these amounts since there is an existing right-of-way and stations.
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