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The Free Ride Continues

At the last moment common, sense prevailed at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It agreed not to eliminate free student MetroCards. Although we recognize the MTA is caught between a rock and hard place, continuing the free ride to and from school makes sense.

Had the MTA followed through on eliminating the MetroCards, many students would have found it difficult to get to school every day. Some parents can afford to buy the cards; others cannot. If the city and state are justified in paying for public education, they are justified in making certain students get to school.

If by eliminating the free ride the city had increased the number of students who dropped out of school before getting a high school diploma, that would have become a costly lesson.

The city will continue to contribute $45 million a year to the MetroCard program. The MTA argues this is a fraction of the cost of transporting students. The MTA said the fare hike planned for January must be greater. If it happens, it is better than watching thousands of children drop out.

Garbage

If city planners have their way, in 2013 the Sanitation Department will begin transferring 2,100 tons of waste every day from stations on the Queens border. One facility will be built in College Point, the other in Sunnyside.

Queens leaders have expressed concerns about the plans. Both facilities will be built near residential neighborhoods. These communities need to know the city has a plan for trucking garbage in from every point in Queens without disrupting the neighborhoods.

The College Point facility will be a marine transfer station. The garbage will be placed in containers and taken out on barges. The Sunnyside facility will transfer trash containers by rail. The goal is to eliminate the need to take trash containers out of the borough by truck.

Trains will pass through or close to residential areas. There is fear the marine transfer could increase the bird population near LaGuardia Airport.

Marshall and community leaders need to stay involved in every step of the process to make certain the transfer stations do not have a negative impact on the quality of life in College Point and Sunnyside.

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