This week, three Queens elected officials announced their support of restoring the long-derelict Long Island Rail Road line that ran from the Rockaways to Rego Park until the 1960s. The plan is the latest in a series of ideas for the line, which also includes a proposal for a bike path and green space similar to Manhattan’s High Line.
Increasing public transportation to and from southern Queens is a needed idea, and restoring the LIRR line could go a long way to easing myriad transportation issues. But when U.S. Reps Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries came out in support of the issue this weekend, their request to use money from a fund for Superstorm Sandy relief left many cold.
With so much damage done to the area, and so much help needed for repairs, every penny counts in bringing storm-ravaged parts of Queens back from the brink. If more money can be made available for the fund, it should go to help the residents affected by the storm, not to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a feasibility study.
Our elected officials should certainly look into the feasibility of restoring the LIRR line, to go along with a separate study looking to build the QueensWay, but they should find another way to pay for it.