BY LUIS GRONDA
The QueensWay project got another boost from New York State last week.
The proposed bike and pedestrian path received $443,750 through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York City Regional Economic Development Council, which aims to develop long-term plans for economic growth throughout New York State.
This is the second time that the council has given money towards the QueensWay project. It received a $467,000 grant last year to fund the feasibility study, which was completed earlier this year.
This new funding will cover a small part of the costs for the first design phase of the QueensWay.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Marc Matsil, the New York Director for the Trust for Public Land, the non-profit organization that is heading the push to build the proposed bike path. “I want to thank Governor Cuomo, it’s been an incredible partnership. This is really one of the most visionary and transformative projects in the world.”
Matsil said the money will help kickstart paying for the design phase, which will cost about $10 million to create, and they will continue to fundraise for the rest of the money.
He said the design phase will be completed in two to three parts, unless they get a large donor who picks up the entire bill. The design phase is expected to take about one year to complete and they will be updating the public on its progress during that time, according to Matsil.
In a release announcing the funding, both U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills), who support the QueensWay, touted the Council for allocating money towards the project.
“I thank Governor Cuomo and the New York City Regional Economic Development Council for their steadfast commitment to building a unique park in our borough that will not only provide great health and environmental benefits to the surrounding communities but also the potential to spur significant economic growth in the area,” Crowley said.
To the contrary, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) was “deeply disappointed” with the Council’s decision to give more money to the QueensWay project.
“Our tax dollars are being wasted on overpriced out-of-borough consultants that shove their one-sided studies and expensive designs down our throats. The Council has once again ignored the needs of real Queens families who struggle with our lack of transit options,” he said in a statement.
Goldfeder has been a loud supporter of reactivating the former LIRR line, running from Rockaway to Rego Park. He held a press conference last month announcing a completion of a survey done with Queens College, asking residents which project they prefer.
The Assemblyman also announced more support for that project during that press conference, including Rep. Jerrold Nader (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn) and Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan).
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.