Rockaway Beach Line Study Delayed

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Looks like the Rockaway Beach Rail Line (RBRL) study is delayed once again. The study to evaluate the possibility of reactivating this easy commute to the City was supposed to be released by now, but according to Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, who contacted the MTA, the study is once again delayed until the summer.

Reactivation of the RBRL has been a high policy priority for Pheffer Amato, who carried the baton from Phil Goldfeder, so she made sure to follow up with the MTA to find out what’s the deal with the much-anticipated study.

An internal MTA evaluation of the RBRL was originally slated to be released in June of 2017, as secured by Goldfeder. Pheffer Amato has continued to push MTA for the results of that evaluation. As a result of that advocacy, MTA informed Pheffer Amato that the results would be revealed by the first quarter of 2018, but now would include two critical victories: (1) the inclusion of specific criteria in the final report that are meant to better illustrate the feasibility of the proposal; and (2) most crucially, that the MTA, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), and New York City Transit (NYCT) will be jointly requesting and securing an outside contractor to help conduct the evaluation, thereby putting all key agency stakeholders on the same page and ensuring their mutual investment in giving the proposal a full and fair hearing.

In anticipation of the evaluation, Pheffer Amato sent a letter to MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota requesting the results. As of this past week, MTA representatives informed Pheffer Amato that the RBRL evaluation findings will be delayed again until summer to allow a full and thorough examination. Pheffer Amato has yet to receive a formal response to her letter.

 “Am I surprised that the MTA has yet to release the results of the evaluation? No. Am I disappointed? We all are. We all had expectations and were looking forward to a favorable on-time evaluation,” Pheffer Amato said. “However, I think that a delayed study could mean good news. The MTA, the LIRR and NYCT are getting the message from our continued advocacy and outpouring of demand from the community, and, at long last, they’re giving the RBRL a serious look — even if it’s taking a year longer than originally expected. We’ve waited this long, and I anticipate hearing big developments soon.”

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