By Jeffrey Williams-Maisonet
One month after conducting an exclusive interview with State Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder, it appears the Rockaway representative has made good on his promise to address transportation issues that have plagued residents for years.
Two weeks ago, Goldfeder spoke at a legislative budget hearing in Albany, urging Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman Thomas Prendergast to consider reactivating the Rockaway Beach Rail Line.
According to a published report by the Forum News Group, Goldfeder told Chairman Prendergast, “The question here is, are we looking at big ideas to improve transportation in the city? The single most valuable asset we have is a right-of-way, and this makes the Rockaway Beach Rail Line a cost-effective means of improving transportation for families not just in southern Queens and Rockaway, but also the city. Reactivation would increase intra-borough connectivity and create a direct link to JFK Airport.”
Chairmen Prendergast responded by saying that the agency has been reviewing additional resiliency and expansion opportunities, including the Rockaway line, adding that while the MTA has yet to take any concrete steps, the proposal could be a good way to expand transit.
Goldfeder also made note of the fact that transfers from the new Rockaway Ferry would be available in 2017 and asked, “Is the agency considering honoring ferry tickets or covering transfer costs?”
City officials have already announced that ferry tickets would be priced at $2.75 to match current subway and city bus fares. However, the city, state and MTA have yet to reach any agreement on allowing free transfers to MTA buses and trains.
During his appearance on Primetime Interviews, Goldfeder was asked what specific plans were in place to provide better transportation in the Rockaways. “We need to make sure that we stand together when activating the Rockaway Beach Rail Line. Whether it takes 20 or 30 years to reconstruct, we must plan now and organize so that future generations can have more effective and reliable transit,” he said.
“As far as the ferry is concerned, we have to make sure everyone has access to the ferry. I will continue to fight for the people to make sure we can get shuttles from all ends of the peninsula and make sure we can have everyone connect to other methods of transit,” Goldfeder concluded.
It looks like the Assemblyman is hard at work when it comes to transit issues, which, at least for me, confirms that there is light at the end of the tunnel.