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Boro board eyes MTA’s Kennedy link Olympics bid

Christian Bastion of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Planning Division, said the MTA would hold a public forum at York College on July 20 on the JFK-Lower Manhattan project.Most of the $6 billion project is at preliminary stages."If you feel you will be impacted by this project, we welcome you to express yourself at this forum," Bastion said.As for the project, "we discussed at length whether the route should utilize any of the existing tunnels but have concluded that building a new tunnel would be best since trains linking JFK and Lower Manhattan would then not compete with regular subway or Long Island Rail Road trains and complicate traffic and scheduling," Bastion said.Bastion said the goal was to make possible a 36-minute ride from downtown Manhattan to JFK.Marshall then introduced several regional officials of the U.S. Census Bureau, who asked for help for its mid-decade enumeration, making suggestions and handing out informational pamphlets.She said her office was eager to help because the more frequent the counts of people, the more money Queens gets for its schools and housing."We are growing by leaps and bounds and we need the money," Marshall said.Marshall gave census Regional Director Lester Farthing a few suggestions on how to reach Queens people in order to count them in the nation's most ethnically diverse county,"Don't depend on people calling you," Marshall said. "You should take your dog and pony show to all our Community Board meetings.""One thing you want to do is to assure people that the census bureau does not share information with other government agencies," she said.As for the 2012 Olympics, Marshall said, "We are not saying if we get the Olympics but rather when we get the Olympics."She mentioned the shift of Olympics emphasis to Queens since the collapse of the drive to get a stadium in Manhattan and said Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently got in touch with her."He said he called me to thank me for not opposing the West Side Manhattan stadium," Marshall said. "I said, 'Mr. Mayor, we would get about half of the benefits because so many events were to be held here in Queens.' ""I told him, however, that we cannot go any further with Shea. I said we have spent $40 million patching up that place.""So we're getting a new Shea Stadium and it is supposed to be ready to open along with the new Yankee Stadium in 2009," Marshall said."But that's just the start," she said. "We're also going to get a new Willets Point and cleaned-up lakes (in Flushing Meadow-Corona Park) and other good things.""Sure, there's going to be traffic but we've had two World's Fairs and we survived the Beatles and we're having Billy Graham soon. I can tell you this is going to benefit Queens."Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136

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