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Photo courtesy of Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato's office
Photo courtesy of Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato's office
Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato continues the push to conduct a study on the Rockaway Beach Rail Line.

A lawmaker from the Rockaways has secured two major victories in the fight to get the unused Rockaway Beach Rail Line (RBRL) up and running again to provide transportation to thousands of Rockaway residents.

After a recent letter exchange with MTA representatives, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato announced that she was able to increase momentum on the evaluation process of potentially reactivating the RBRL.

Pheffer Amato was able to secure the inclusion of specific criteria in the final report that are meant to better illustrate the feasibility of the proposal, and that the MTA, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), and New York City Transit (NYCT) will be jointly requesting and securing an outside contractor to help conduct the evaluation, putting all key agency stakeholders on the same page and ensuring their mutual investment in giving the proposal a full and fair hearing, she said.

“This is a huge deal. Reactivating the RBRL may be the best and most permanent fix for our transit issues,” Pheffer Amato said. “We had a 40-minute commute for eighty years, from 1880 to 1960. But it was lengthened to an hour twenty minutes, and now we’re effectively cut off from large parts of the city. So fixing that is priority number one. And now, even though the Rockaway Peninsula economy is roaring back, there’s this narrative parroted by some in city government that a competing project idea to the QueensRail, the QueensWay, is likely to materialize. But the demand for real transit never went away, and we think Governor Cuomo’s call for a single-seat ride from JFK to Midtown definitely is helping with momentum for restoring the RBRL.”

Although the evaluation was delayed from a June release to a date this winter, Pheffer Amato is glad that the study will finally be done.

“We need to use this moment to make real decisions that affect real peoples’ lives,” she said. “That’s what government is about – actually improving daily life. The MTA, the LIRR and NYCT are getting that message from our advocacy and the outpouring of demand from the community, and, at long last, they’re giving the RBRL a serious look.”

Pheffer Amato also released a petition called “South Queens Needs Transit,” which is aimed at encouraging the three agencies to do the evaluation quickly and thoroughly, and to create a plan for reactivation and present it to the community. To read and sign the petition, visit http://bit.ly/SouthQueensNeedsTransit.

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Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. June 30, 2017 / 05:35PM
To all constituents along the RBBL, if either your City Council member, your Mayor, your state Assembly member, your state senator, your governor, or your U.S. representative doesn't support Queensrail, vote them out through the strength of numbers thanks to large turnout, by targeting them. Do it towards your city elected officials this year and your state and federal elected officials next year.
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