When Mayor Bill de Blasio presented his $92.5 billion executive city budget for Fiscal Year 2020, it included good news for Long Island City.
The budget included the $180 million funding package that de Blasio promised last October to improve infrastructure that has lagged behind the unprecedented expansion that has made Long Island City the fastest growing neighborhood in the country.
“I am delighted that Mayor de Blasio is keeping his commitment to the Long Island City community,” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said. “I have made it clear to him that I believe it is critically important for the city to fix the aging sewers system in Long Island City, which backs up every time it rains, to build new parks and schools to meet a growing population, to create new affordable housing and bring jobs to this community, to support the creative community that has developed in Long Island City and to enhance our overtaxed transportation system.”
The Long Island City Investment Strategy includes $95 million for improvements to the sewer system and water mains, $60 million committed for the School Construction Authority to build a new school in Court Square, $10 million in additional funding for the Department of Transportation’s Hunters Point street reconstruction project, and $15 million for improvements to Queensbridge Baby Park, Old Hickory Playground, Bridge and Tunnel Park and Court Square.
“In the coming months, I’ll be working with the de Blasio administration to make sure the funding is invested as promised,” Maloney said.
The strategy’s genesis was a town hall meeting in March 2015 at MoMA PS1 hosted by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl where a standing-room-only crowd unleashed a litany of complaints about strained infrastructure in the real estate boom that began with a 2001 rezoning.
The city responded with “extensive interagency coordination and community outreach” that culminated in the plan to ensure that LIC’s growth is sustainable and inclusive.
“While I’m pleased to see the $180 million in LIC infrastructure investment officially added to the city’s budget, we need more than just this step in the right direction,” Van Bramer said. “And like this $180 million, we need more infrastructure investment that isn’t tied to more development. The needs exist today for the people who call LIC home now. I’m proud to have fought for this city funding which will ensure that LIC is more livable and sustainable, but now we need the SCA to site and build the school in Court Square as promised and the other infrastructure upgrades to start ASAP. I’ll keep working for more funding because LIC needs and deserves it.”
State Senator Michael Gianaris agreed the infrastructure in wester Queens has filed to keep up with the rapid growth and development.
“While I welcome this investment in our sewers, roads and schools, much more needs to be done to meet the community’s needs, including more affordable housing and critical transit upgrades,” Gianaris said.