Meng Transportation and Infrastructure Projects for Queens Included in Key Congressional Funding Bill; Legislation Expected to Soon be Passed by the House
Jun 9, 2021
Congresswoman’s items consist of nearly $20 million for Forest Hills LIRR, local vehicle charging stations, and median replacements in the borough
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) secured nearly $20 million in a key transportation and infrastructure bill to upgrade the Forest Hills Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station, create vehicle charging stations in Flushing and Bayside, and replace medians in Oakland Gardens that are in need of repair.
The funding was included in the INVEST in America Act, a transformative five-year, $547 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill. The measure is expected to be passed later today by the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee. It is then expected to soon be passed by the full House of Representatives.
Under the project for the Forest Hills LIRR station, nearly $17 million ($16,910,000) would be used to address repair needs including the replacement of deteriorated platforms. The project would also provide those with disabilities full access to the station, making it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. These accessibility improvements include new elevators and an extension of the platform length to 12 cars, along with other station upgrades. The Forest Hills LIRR station is located at 71st Avenue and Austin Street.
Funding for the vehicle charging stations includes $734,400 for a Level 2 Electric Charging Network in New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Municipal Parking Facilities. Specifically, the money would be used to install electric vehicle charging stations in three municipal parking lots:
Flushing #2 Parking field at 135-23 39th Avenue in Flushing
Flushing #4 Parking field at 134 Northern Boulevard in Flushing
Bayside Parking field at 214-32 41st Avenue in Bayside
The level 2 chargers provide about 7kW of power per hour. This would add about 25 miles of range to a typical sedan for each hour it is plugged in.
Under the median restoration initiative in Oakland Gardens, $2,355,200 would be provided to restore the center medians on Union Turnpike from Hollis Court Boulevard to 226th Street to a state of good repair. The current medians are in disrepair and need to be reconstructed. The project will also make accessibility and geometric improvements where needed.
“Queens must not be forgotten about as we invest in our infrastructure,” said Meng “Restoring and expanding our borough’s transportation system is critical to meeting the growing needs of Queens, and these projects would improve the safety of local residents while making it easier and more convenient to travel. They would also strengthen economic growth, save money, and enhance quality of life for many constituents. I’m thrilled that I was able to secure funding for these crucial initiatives in the INVEST in America Act, and I look forward to the legislation being approved by the House in the coming weeks.”
This spring, the T&I Committee provided the opportunity for members of Congress to submit highway or transit project requests for their districts in the surface transportation reauthorization bill. This process allowed Congressmembers to work with local governments, transit agencies, or state departments of transportation to identify and put forward high-impact local infrastructure projects.
In order to request funding, Meng and other members of Congress had to adhere to limited options. All projects needed to already be planned and budgeted for by the city or state. Projects were also required to be submitted within a short timeframe, and the only qualified projects were those eligible under Title 23 of the U.S. Code which includes transportation planning, capital improvement projects, and highway trust fund initiatives. Essentially, the goal of the funding is to help give viable projects the money they need to get across the finish line.