2017-06-28 / Front Page

Pheffer Amato Announces New Momentum On Rockaway Beach Rail Line

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato announced new momentum on the possibility of reactivating the long-dormant Rockaway Beach Rail Line (RBRL), a high policy priority of hers.Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato announced new momentum on the possibility of reactivating the long-dormant Rockaway Beach Rail Line (RBRL), a high policy priority of hers.Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway) has released a statement after a letter exchange with representatives from the MTA, announcing new momentum on an evaluation of the possibility of reactivating the long-dormant Rockaway Beach Rail Line (RBRL), a high policy priority of both Pheffer Amato and her predecessor, former Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. Though the evaluation itself has been pushed back from a June release date until the winter, Pheffer Amato reports securing two critical victories: (1) the inclusion of specific criteria in the final report that are meant to better illustrate the feasibility of the proposal; and (2) most crucially, 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, thereby putting all key agency stakeholders on the same page and ensuring their mutual investment in giving the proposal a full and fair hearing.

“This is a huge deal,” said Pheffer Amato. “Reactivating the RBRL may be the best and most permanent fix for our transit issues. We had a 40-minute commute for 80 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.

“Look,” said Pheffer Amato, “folks are realizing what a great value our area is and are coming here in droves. That’s great. But we’ve always known this place is a jewel, and we’ve been neglected way too long. We need to use this moment to make real decisions that affect real peoples’ lives. 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. I applaud them for that, and we’re excited to be re-engaging with the community on moving forward.”

Pheffer Amato also announced the release of a petition called “South Queens Needs Transit,” encouraging the three agencies to complete work on the evaluation quickly and thoroughly, and to present a plan for reactivation to the community. The petition is located at http://bit.ly/SouthQueensNeedsTransit. She encourages constituents to sign, “so we have options for transit for our children and grandchildren, and not have our transit decisions in 50 years be made by a development fad for skinny parks.”

 

 


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