Meng wants lockbox for city transportation funds

State Assemblywoman Grace Meng met with ATU President I. Daneek Miller (left) and other union members calling for transportation funding. Photo by Steve Mosco
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Transportation infrastructure in Queens needs undivided attention and funds, state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) said last week.

Running for Congress in the newly configured 6th District, the assemblywoman received the endorsement of transportation union officials as commuters went from subway to bus Friday at the Q46 terminal at the Kew Gardens subway station on Queens Boulevard.

During the endorsement, Meng drove home the point that funds intended for transportation projects need to stay on course and not be diverted.

“Funding for our transportation here in Queens starts in Washington. We cannot allow money intended for transportation to be used elsewhere,” she said, adding that she supports a transportation fund lockbox, which would secure money for transit improvements. “Millions of people use transportation every day here in the city, and the infrastructure needs the support to handle that volume.”

Representatives from Amalgamated Transportation Union Local No. 1056 made their endorsement of Meng’s run for Congress against fellow Democrats — Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Dr. Robert Mittman —in a primary election set for June 26.

The winner of the primary will likely face Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) on Election Day this fall.

ATU President I. Daneek Miller, who was joined by other union members, including drivers and mechanics, said Meng’s track record in Queens was the deciding factor in ATU’s endorsement. He said Meng understands the importance of transportation unions in the city and he looks forward to working with her on the issues.

“Union members live and work in the same community. They want to see their work benefit the people of the community. Because of Grace’s longtime presence and support of our concerns and her deep knowledge of issues facing transportation in the borough, ATU 1056 finds that she best understands the pressing needs of the people of Queens,” said Miller. “Grace exemplifies exactly what we need in Washington, D.C. — someone standing up for our shared values, including preserving and maintaining public mass transit and a commitment to restoring core bus service.”

Meng said Congress has not done enough to support the many aspects of transportation across the borough, so this will be an important issue for her if she gets to Washington.

“Daneek Miller and Local 1056 stand at the forefront of engaging the community and working effectively to get things done,” she said. “As a public interest lawyer, a community organizer and an assemblywoman, I work to bring parties together to address tough issues. I will continue to do that to more adequately fund our public transit system. I maintain a strong commitment to safeguarding and enhancing bus service in Queens County and look forward to working closely with the [International] ATU, our nation’s largest transportation union in Washington, D.C.”

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Posted 12:00 am, May 27, 2012
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