Malcolm Smith's Plan to Build Lab in Jamaica in Jeopardy After Arrest
QUEENS — State Sen. Malcolm Smith’s plan to build a state-of-the-art healthcare laboratory in Jamaica may be in jeopardy after he was arrested Tuesday for allegedly trying to rig the mayoral election.
Currently, the Health and Hospitals Corporation intends to build the laboratory in College Point, according to the letter Smith sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg on March 27. The lab would consolidate major testing work from the city’s 11 municipal hospitals into a single facility, and could also bring 500 new jobs to Queens, according to the letter.
In the letter, Smith asked Bloomberg to reconsider the plan and build the facility in Jamaica instead. He also said the idea has the support of other officials from Southeast Queens.
The state senator argued that Jamaica would be “a more cost-effective and practical location for this facility," because it provides a variety of transportation options.
“The project, no matter how worthy, may not succeed if HHC laboratory employees who currently work and live in the neighborhoods throughout the city are unwilling or unable, without owning a car, to travel to the new facility,” Smith wrote, adding that Jamaica provides subway service, a LIRR station, bus terminals, highway access and parking facilities.
It's also located between John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport and has Air Train access.
“For rapid city-wide access, Jamaica is unparalleled,” Smith wrote. “College Point is remote and unconnected to much of the city, its inadequate bus service is indirect and infrequent. It has no subway service.”
Smith also pointed out that the proximity of York College CUNY, in Jamaica, which offers the Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology, could provide the lab with employees in the future and would be closer to its consulting team at North Shore-Long Island Jewish hospital.
The Health and Hospitals Corporation confirmed that it had received the letter, but its spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Yvonne Reddick, district manager of Community Board 12, said the board hasn’t discussed the plan yet. But she said that “any project that is going to boost Jamaica would be great."
Smith and City Councilman Dan Halloran were arrested Tuesday for allegedly hatching a bribery scheme to get the state senator on the Republican ballot for the 2013 mayoral election, authorities said.
Phone calls to Smith's office have not been returned.