LIRR OPTION(see map): This option would have the LIRR resume operations between Penn Station and Aqueduct and potentially from Grand Central Terminal when East Side Access (ESA) opens around 2019. This option requires at least two stations to be built, at Rego Park and Aqueduct. The latter would allow transfers to the A train and to the AIRTRAIN (if it was extended from Howard Beach).
SUBWAY OPTION(see map): This option would connect the RBL into the Queens Boulevard subway line east of 63rd Drive. The Rockaway Park shuttle would then become a full time subway route operating into Midtown Manhattan.
Under both options rail noise would be minimized or eliminated, using modern techniques of decking, noise barriers and vibration-damping track beds. The LIRR option may be the more feasible, relying on existing Queens-Manhattan subway capacity issues. In contrast, ESA will permit additional LIRR trains into midtown Manhattan.
The cost: Conservative estimates range from $600 million to $1 billion. We are calling for an immediate cost-benefit analysis, environmental impact statements, and engineering analysis of these choices.