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Marshall spoke at her alma mater, Queens College, for the event and stressed the need to supply the infrastructure required to support the billions of dollars in economic development scheduled to take place across the borough in the near future. "Queens is about to see entirely new communities on its landscape with thousands of new housing units, new schools, shops and much-needed recreational space," she said. Marshall gave her speech at Colden Auditorium before a bevy of Queens and citywide officials, including Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and several Queens City Council members.Marshall said development projects such as Hunters Point, the planned redevelopment of Willets Point, Arverne by the Sea and Arverne East in the Rockaways, Flushing Commons and Skyview Parc in Flushing and Citifield will change the face of Queens for the better in the coming years, but the borough must prepare for them. Marshall said southeast Queens is a prime example. She said the approval of the Jamaica rezoning plan was a crucial and unprecedented step forward in the growth of the area, but also noted that summer storms pulled back the curtain on an extremely underfunded and subpar sewer system. Marshall pointed to the $1.6 billion in claims that have been filed against the city as a result of the severe flooding across the borough that occurred during the July 18 and Aug. 8 storms. "Unfortunately, the city allocates only $15 million a year for the construction of lateral sewers that connect into the main trunk sewer line in southeast Queens. At that rate, it will take more than 30 years to fix the problem," she said. "I cannot understand the logic of subjecting the city to $1.6 billion in claims rather than building the entire project for $1 billion."Marshall also called on the city to implement major public transportation improvements and said the idea of implementing a plan like congestion pricing prior to such improvements being made would be unfair and counterproductive. "I believe that we must not punish those who have been ignored with government's failure to provide meaningful mass transit options," she said.Marshall said increasing the number of trains at the borough's Long Island Rail Road and subway stops, extending subway platforms, adding bus routes and opening abandoned LIRR stations are all realistic short-term options for improving public transportation in Queens.Marshall said promising plans are also on the horizon for the borough's higher education institutions. She said CUNY Law School, currently located next to Queens College in Flushing, is going forward with plans to move to Long Island City. Marshall said she is also pushing hard to renovate an abandoned courthouse in the Rockaways and turn it into CUNY by the Sea, which would become the Rockaway Peninsula's first college. Also included in Marshall's address were plans to give the borough's community boards their own Web sites, the securing of a $250,000 grant for legal services to help victims of the subprime mortgage crisis and $200,000 from the Port Authority to fund a study for a noise abatement program for private homes located near the borough's airports. Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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