The MTA, according to the report, said that with fiscal restraints in today’s economy, it would need to use “new strategies to boost capacity and accessibility, and which are more strategic in scale and location and are accomplished within customers’ commuting lifetimes.”
Reopening the LIRR Rockaway Beach Rail Line was listed as an example of such a strategy in Comptroller DiNapoli’s report.
“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,” the report reads.
When it was running, the Rockaway Rail Line provided customers with a 40-minute commute to midtown Manhattan from the Rockaways.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder has been a staunch supporter of returning service to the rail line. In 2012, he collected nearly 3,000 signatures for a petition to immediately restore the line.
“We are on the right track and I will continue to fight for full restoration to give our families the transportation we deserve,” Goldfeder said. “In today's difficult economy, complete restoration of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line would offer affordable, reliable transportation to those who desperately need it and prepare our city for future growth.”
Phil McManus, the founder of the Queens Public Transit Committee, said that the support for the Rockaway Rail Line in the report was “great news.”
“Our city, state and federal governments need to invest in transportation for all the people,” McManus said. “Imagine the social, economic, recreational and environmental opportunities if we completely restored the Rockaway Beach Rail Line.”