2017-02-15 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

17 Years To Rebuild

To The Editor:

There is more to a recent Metropolitan Transportation Authority announcement that the anticipated repairs to the South Ferry station on the 1 train line adjacent to the Whitehall Street Staten Island Ferry Terminal will be completed in time to support reopening in June 2017. Washington paid twice with tax dollars under grants from the United States Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration for building the new South Ferry Terminal 1 train subway station. Although the original South Ferry Station suffered minimal structural damage as a result of 9/11, as compared to both the Rector and Cortland Street stations, Uncle Sam still provided $545 million in 9/11 emergency recovery funding for a new station at an adjacent site. As part of its own Twenty Year Capital Needs Assessment Plan and longterm New York City Transit station state of good repair program, the MTA had always intended to upgrade this station using its own or federal USDOT FTA annual formula funding. This was necessary, as the original South Ferry station built in 1905 could only platform five cars, versus the standard ten at all other stations.

In 2012, Super Storm Sandy severely damaged the new station. As a result, USDOT FTA paid a second time for the same station. The MTA received $344 million under the Super Storm Sandy Disaster Relief Act for reconstruction of the same 1 train South Ferry station. Their federal funds were supplemented by millions more in MTA insurance proceeds. Why will it take almost five years to complete this project?

Remember the neighboring Fulton Street Transit Center project in downtown Manhattan near the World Trade Center? The original start date was 2003, with a completion date of 2007. At $1.4 billion, the final cost ended up $650 million higher than the original $750 million. The USDOT FTA first provided $847 million in Lower Manhattan 9/11 emergency recovery funding. This was supplemented by $423 million in American Recovery Reinvestment Act funding to assist in covering cost overruns.

Sixteen years after 9/11, the Cortland Street WTC NYC Transit #1 IRT subway station is still almost two years away from returning to service. If there are no new delays, perhaps the station will reopen by December 2018. The PANYNJ and MTA fought for years over budget, funding sources, scope and schedule. Construction for the MTA portion of the project began last year. This station was totally destroyed as a result of 9/11, suffering far more damage than others. Why will it take the MTA 17 years to rebuild this station? Taxpayers and commuters deserve better.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, LI

Donate To USO

To The Editor:

I would like to mention an organization that is near and dear to my heart, and that is the USO. I have served in the United States Navy in the Vietnam era and found the USO a home away from home. The USO has been a pillar of support for our troops, as they fought, and continue to fight, in some of the most desolate and dangerous places on earth. The USO has launched a critical initiative to aid in the recovery of the 50,000 men and women who have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the thousands more who are suffering from wounds and from invisible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress. The USO supports programs that aid our wounded heroes, their families, and their caregivers. They receive no funds from the government, only donations from people like you and me. Here is something else to think about: the USO serves everywhere, from outposts near military bases, to major airports, including JFK. They serve as home away from home for our troops. It is also a place to call or email home, play video games, watch TV or a movie, grab a snack, just get away from the stress of duty. I know this first-hand from years ago. So those who can, please donate to the USO. The address is: The USO, PO box 96860, Washington, DC 20077-7677. I believe you will be glad that you did, for I just did.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Storm Well-Handled

To The Editor:

The major snowstorm that we just experienced was [a storm] finally forecasted correctly by all of our local television and radio meteorologists, and it’s about time. This storm was a huge one; the biggest one that we have experienced thus far this winter, dropping anywhere from 9.5 to 13.2 inches across the five boroughs. Long Island received as much as 15.5 inches. High winds accompanied the storm, and snow fell at the rate of 1- 3 inches per hour for a good part of the day. Kudos to the city Department of Sanitation for an excellent job of plowing to keep our roads and streets passable. Those men and women worked extremely hard under very tough weather conditions to keep our roads and streets passable during the storm Also, the decision made by Mayor de Blasio to close the city public schools during this storm was the absolute right thing to do. Are we ready for the next one? John Amato

Must Be Proactive

To The Editor:

I feel sad that there is not enough financial support for our food banks and for our soup kitchens. Food is essential, as you know, to survive and to live. There is so much money being wasted in park beautification, etc. Neglecting the food needs of those who are in need is sad, and indeed an appalling state of affairs. I am also angered that Meals on Wheels did not deliver meals to those in need prior to the snowstorm of last Thursday. So many people were left without any food. That is the only hot meal they have, and many resorted to eating crackers and cereal. The Meals on Wheels people must be proactive and if they hear a snowstorm is predicted, they should send two meals or more for the week. I am against the 5-cent tax on plastic bags in NYC. We are taxed enough, and the poor and working people will suffer the most, since the fares for mass transit were hiked. It is not wise to squeeze money out of those who need it the most.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

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