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Although a congressional committee has voted to give New York City nothing for the Second Avenue subway and only $10 million for the Eastside Access to bring the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal, a group of politicians and officials has vowed to keep fighting for both projects.
This must be corrected, said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) at a news conference on Manhattans East Side Monday. We need this federal money, she said, suggesting that the vote in Congress is not final.
Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields said the Second Avenue subway was vital for Manhattans economic growth.
It is important for Congress to add the necessary money, Fields said.
Josh Straka, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) said we are still hoping for more funding for these two important projects.
The House Appropriations Committee approved $10 million for the $4 billion LIRR Eastside Access project linking Manhattan with Long Island City in Queens. But the committee voted to set aside nothing for the Second Avenue subway, although $20 million had been requested.
Maloney suggested that more money could be voted in the Senate version of the bill since the Senate is controlled by Democrats, including New York Sens. Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer.
Transit activists have long insisted that both the Second Avenue subway and the Eastside Access project must be built at the same time since the Lexington line is already the most jam-packed subway line in the city and the Eastside Access would pour thousands more riders into Lexington trains.
The Eastside project would include nearly seven miles of new tunnels in a route from Queens to Grand Central Terminal where a vast new concourse 120 feet below ground and a new station in Sunnyside would be built.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority estimates that 161,000 daily LIRR and Queens riders would use East Side Access, saving a half hour of travel time. It said the project would attract more than 35,000 new customers to public transit and reduce crowding on Queens subway lines and vastly lessen road traffic.
City Comptroller Alan Hevesi, a Democratic candidate for mayor, was among others who appeared at the news conference in support of the projects.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.
©2001 Community Newspaper Group
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