BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) dropped by the Queens Tribune on May 4 to discuss infrastructure projects she envisions for her district and a push for immigration status to be removed from the Census.
Maloney noted that the 2010 Census found that Queens’ population was 2,333,054—but she said that this number did not adequately account for the borough’s immigrant population, many of whom were not counted.
Maloney said that she would work toward ensuring that the 2020 Census would count all of the borough’s residents, thereby ensuring that the borough received all funding due. Maloney, who is the co-chairwoman of the Census Committee, founded the 2020 Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act, which would stop questions from being changed on the Census at the last minute. Maloney said that, in 2010, a citizenship question was added to the Census.
“This was murder to Queens and everywhere that has a large immigrant community,” said Maloney. “The Census is the only requirement in the Constitution that the executive branch has to act on. The Census’ numbers decide where the $700 billion is distributed throughout our country every year, and it also very importantly describes our representation.”
On May 8, during a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing regarding the 2020 Census, John Gore—the acting head of the Justice Department Civil Rights Division—did not appear before the committee. The committee will meet again on May 18, and if Gore does not show, he will be forced to do so via subpoena.
During her discussion with the Queens Tribune, Maloney discussed some of the infrastructure projects for which she was able to allocate federal funding, such as the replacement of the Kosciuszko Bridge, which connects Queens to Brooklyn, that will include nine car lanes, bike lanes and two parks; the East Side Access project, which would create a Sunnyside stop on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR); the Harold Interlocking, which is the busiest railroad junction in the country and enables Amtrak to link Boston and New York; Dutch Kills Park, an incentive from the city as part of the deal to create a JetBlue headquarters in Queens; and the Newtown Creek Superfund cleanup, which stops the city from pouring raw sewage into the already- polluted waterway.
“Infrastructure is so important,” said Maloney. “It creates good jobs and economic development.”
Maloney—who supports the city’s proposed BQX streetcar—said that she was also intrigued by former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s proposal for a light rail that would run from Jamaica to Long Island City.
“I support anything for infrastructure,” said Maloney. “It’s the wisest thing we could do with our money. It creates efficiency and grows the economy. It’s amazing.”
Although Maloney doesn’t fully oppose the Sunnyside Yard master plan—which would create housing, jobs and schools above the current Amtrak rail yard—she said that she attended a meeting at Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan’s (D-Long Island City) office, during which local leaders shared their concerns about the overdevelopment of the community.
“I’ve never seen areas developed like Long Island City before,” said Maloney. “I think it’s bringing jobs, but I also think that development is going very fast, which is why it’s important to have transit, schools and a good sewage system.”
Maloney said that western Queens leaders are especially concerned about whether community leaders and residents would be adequately represented on the steering committee for Sunnyside Yard.
“I think you need a lot of community input and planning on it, such as input from community boards and community leadership to find ways to make it even better,” said Maloney.
Maloney will face off against Suraj Patel, a 34-year-old New York University professor and entrepreneur, in this year’s Democratic primary.
The 2018 U.S. House of Representatives primary election will take place on June 26.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, email@example.com or @reporter_ariel.