In a report released last week, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach LIRR is not only feasible, but a good investment for the financially-shaky Metropolitan Transit Authority.
The document alleged that the MTA has not restored the entire transit system to a state of good repair because it has not received all the funding it has sought and because cost overruns on large capital projects siphoned off resources that could have been used to modernize the system. In it, DiNapoli says restoring the route would cut down on costs of transporting residents in South Queens and the Rockaways and spur development in the area.
“The MTA has stated that given the fiscal constraints of the current economy, it will need to respond with new strategies to boost capacity and accessibility, and which are more strategic in scale and location and are accomplished within customers’ commuting lifetimes,” the state comptroller said in the report. “Potential new strategies include rebuilding constrained subway junctions and terminals, expanding station stairways and platforms, and converting available rights-of-way. The MTA cites the former LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch as an example of this approach. Restoring service on the Rockaway Beach Branch would be a less costly way to speed commutes between South Queens and Manhattan, improve travel within the borough, and promote economic growth.”