Federal funds go to boro projects

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Queens is getting federal stimulus funds for nine infrastructure projects that range from extensive work on Queens Plaza to the rebuilding of the Rockaway Boardwalk as part of the $261 million designated for New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and federal elected officials said Monday.

The reconstruction of Queens Plaza, an eyesore in Long Island City, is the most ambitious of the projects, which also include plans to improve transportation in College Point, Jamaica, Queens Village and Sunnyside.

“The federal stimulus dollars mean that we can move projects that would have been on the chopping block and get shovels in the ground quickly — putting thousands of people to work and rebuilding our infrastruc­ture,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

The Queens Plaza reconstruction, which will create a public plaza with new sidewalks, a bike lane, landscaping and redirected traffic at the busy intersection near the Queensboro Bridge, received $37 million for both phases of the project, the third−highest allocation of any project in the city. Bidding is expected later this year, with the completion date set for 2011.

The top recipient of the funds citywide was the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island, which serves 60,000 passengers a day. Some $175 million of the money will go toward rebuilding it.

Next on the list is the rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Bridge, funded in part by a $47.2 million allocation from the stimulus funds.

Some $15 million will go toward the reconstruction of the Rockaway Boardwalk, which is crumbling along certain stretches. That project is scheduled to go out to bid this spring with a completion date two years later.

A reconstruction of 32nd Avenue and College Point Boulevard in College Point will get $12 million in federal funds, going to bid this fall and slated to finish a year later. In Jamaica, a sidewalk replacement project on Hillside Avenue will receive $10 million, opening for bids this spring with an expected completion date late next year.

Rounding out the major Queens projects is $7 million for the extension of 132nd Street in College Point to 20th Avenue to help accommodate more traffic from a new corporate park planned there. Bidding on that project is slated for the spring of next year with a completion date of winter 2014.

Three roadway bridges spanning major highways in Jackson Heights, Forest Hills and Queens Village will also be repaired as part of a $9.7 million allocation for such projects citywide.

“Talk about a multiplier effect: A $261 million federal investment plus the city’s creativity in using it will leverage more than a billion dollars of improvements to our roads and bridges and create 32,000 jobs,” U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D−Astoria) said.

City Councilman John Liu (D−Flushing), chairman of the Council Transportation Committee, also praised the funding, but urged the city Department of Transportation to honor Local Law 129, which establishes a list of women− and minority−owned businesses to hire for construction projects.

“The DOT has a less−tha­n−laudable record for contracting with [them], to say the least,” Liu said. “The agency has consistently failed to meet the mandate in the last four years.”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

Updated 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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