NE Queens electeds request more transit

By Kelsey Durham

Two Queens lawmakers are pursuing their quest to bring more public transportation to the border communities of Queens.

State Assembly members Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) and Nily Rozic (D-Flushing) held a hearing at City Hall last week to address transit problems that residents of many Queens neighborhoods say have endured for years due to a lack of public transportation options provided to the outer parts of the borough.

At the Aug. 7 hearing, Rozic and Goldfeder met with Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials to ask the agency to fund more transportation for Queens before the agency finalizes its 2015-19 capital plan.

“Today’s hearing brought to light how eastern Queens continues to be one of the most under-served areas in New York City and that enhancements must be made to accommodate growing ridership,” said Rozic, who represents an area throughout northeast Queens that lacks a single subway or train station in the entire district. “Queens residents deserve affordable, accessible public transportation options.”

Earlier this year, Rozic was one of several elected officials who gathered to announce a half-million-dollar funding allocation in the 2014-15 state budget that would allow the MTA to conduct a bus restoration study across northeast Queens, an area residents and officials say was devastated by dramatic service cuts at the height of the MTA’s financial crisis in 2010.

The study, set to conclude in April, will analyze the effects of those cuts, partnered with the changing demographics and increased ridership the area has seen over the past few years, Rozic said.

At last week’s hearing, the assemblywoman and Prendergast discussed the status of the ongoing study and encouraged the MTA to continue looking at ways to bring more transit options to residents in the outer parts of Queens.

“Queens residents deserve affordable, accessible and dependable public transportation options,” Rozic said.

Goldfeder, whose southern Queens district was greatly damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, also stressed the need for renewed transportation throughout the borough, arguing it would be the key to homeowners and businesses finally recovering from the aftermath of the storm.

He told the MTA last week that improving service on the A train and restoring the Rockaway Beach rail line would contribute to economic growth in the area.

He also suggested removing the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge for every resident of Queens in hopes of encouraging drivers to come to the Rockaways more often.

“There is no debate that improving current subway lines, increasing service and investing in projects like the Rockaway Beach rail line will benefit every resident of New York City,” Goldfeder said. “In order to plan and grow our future, we must invest in vital transit infrastructure now.”

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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