Rockaway Rail Line Study Delayed Again

BY JON CRONIN

After nearly a year’s delay on the Rockaway Beach Rail Line feasibility study, the MTA has announced that the study will again be delayed—this time, until the summer.

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach) noted Tuesday that the feasibility study for the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line (RBRL) has been delayed.

The reactivation of the long-dormant LIRR line—which had its service suspended in the early 1960s after dwindling use—has been long sought for a section of Queens that suffers from long commutes to Manhattan. In this part of Queens, the only north-to-south public transit is bus service.

Former Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder announced that the MTA had funded the study in the summer of 2016 and that it would be completed by June 2017. The reactivation of the RBRL has been a top priority for Pheffer Amato since taking over from Goldfeder last year.

Nearly a year ago, Pheffer Amato was told by the MTA that the results would include “specific criteria in the final report that are meant to better illustrate the feasibility of the proposal,” and that the key stakeholders—the MTA, LIRR and New York City Transit—would hire an outside contractor to conduct the evaluation and ensure that all agencies were on the same page.

Pheffer Amato was told by the MTA that the extension would “allow a full and thorough examination.”
“Am I surprised that the MTA has yet to release the results of the evaluation? No. Am I disappointed?

We all are,” said Pfeffer Amato. “However, I think that a delayed study could mean good news. The MTA, the LIRR and NYCT are getting the message from our continued advocacy and outpouring of demand from the community and, at long last, they’re giving the RBRL a serious look—even if it’s taking a year longer than originally expected. We’ve waited this long, and I anticipate hearing big developments soon.”

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