OZONE PARK — South Queens residents and politicians are pressing for the restoration of a defunct, litter-strewn rail line in a bid to lessen the more-than hour-long commute times for Rockaway residents, according to a published report.
After Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed building a massive convention center near the Aqueduct Racetrack earlier this year, lawmakers and civic leaders have begun pushing to restore the Rockaway Beach train line, commonly known as the White Pot Junction Line, to help ease the commuting burden, according to the Queens Chronicle.
The Long Island Rail Road sold the line in 1962, forcing Queens residents to find alternate ways to get from the Rockaways to Rego Park and increasing the commute time into Manhattan via the A train.
"Transportation options for Southern Queens and Rockaway residents are severely limited," Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) told the Chronicle.
"Restoration of the abandoned rail line as an efficient transportation alternative to the current subway lines would be welcomed news to the residents of Queens, who currently suffer with commutes of well over an hour to midtown Manhattan."
Goldfeder, who plans to present the plan to the MTA and Port Authority, is urging Queens residents to express their frustration over the lack of transportation options through an online petition, the paper said.
"A petition is the perfect way to send a strong message to decision makers that Queens residents are united in the quest for multiple transit options," Goldfelder said.
Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for Resorts World New York, which operates the casino at Aqueduct Racetrack and hopes to run the convention center, told the Chronicle in an email that his company supports the push to restore the aged train line.
"We want to increase the amount of public transportation to support the New York International Convention and Exhibition Center," he said.