June 10, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
Nearly $20 million in funding for a number of infrastructure projects in Central Queens has been included in a massive transportation spending bill that was introduced in the House of Representatives last week.
The funds would go toward repairing the Forest Hills LIRR station, creating electric vehicle charging stations in Flushing and Bayside, and replacing center medians in need of repair on roadways in Oakland Gardens.
The funding is included as part of the INVEST in America Act, a five-year $547 billion plan that aims to modernize the country’s roads, bridges, transit, rail and much more.
The bill passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday and is expected to pass the House floor when it is up for a vote.
“Queens must not be forgotten about as we invest in our infrastructure,” said Rep. Grace Meng, who secured the funding. “Restoring and expanding our borough’s transportation system is critical to meeting the growing needs of Queens, and these projects would improve the safety of local residents while making it easier and more convenient to travel.
Most of the funds, $17 million, would be used to upgrade and repair the Forest Hills LIRR station. The work would include replacing the deteriorated platforms, adding new elevators—in order for the station to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act—and extended the platform length to 12 cars.
The bill also includes nearly $2.5 million that would be used to restore the center medians from Hollis Court Boulevard to 226th Street on Union Turnpike.
About $730,000 is included in the bill to cover the cost of installing charging stations at three municipal parking lots. Two of the lots are in Flushing– located at 135-23 39th Ave. and 134 Northern Blvd.–and the other in Bayside, at 214-32 41st Ave.
The stations would provide level 2 chargers, which add about 25 miles of range for each hour a regular sedan plugs in.
Meng says the improvements to the district would “strengthen economic growth, save money, and enhance quality of life for many constituents.”
The Invest in America Act, which was introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, is a comprehensive package that includes $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety projects, $109 billion for public transit and $95 billion to improve Amtrak rail service.
Likes pigs dining at the trough, members of Congress just can’t get enough pork to bring back home. On a bipartisan basis, they have resurrected the old “member items” previously known as “Congressional earmarks” . Both Democrats and Republican Congress members believe it is one way to assure re-election in 2022. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority leader Charles Schumer will allocate additional earmarks and more dollars to those members of their respective caucuses who face competitive elections in 2022. Congressional earmarks have been re branded under a new title, “community project funding.” requests, The infamous Washington “K” street lobbyists will make a fortune on behalf of their clients looking for earmarks. It is the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig.
Larry Penner — transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs including earmarks for the MTA, NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ)