Call For LIRR Funding, Urge State To Fund Promised Sunnyside Rail Yards Station

Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined with Queens community leaders in Long Island City to call on New York state to fund the promised, long-anticipated LIRR station in Sunnyside Rail Yards. At a press conference held on February 11th at the corner of 44th Drive and Jackson Avenue, speakers emphasized that this stop, promised as part of the East Side Access plan, would create a transportation hub that will incorporate all of the transportation systems that use the Sunnyside Rail Yards (LIRR, NJ Transit, Amtrak and soon, Metro-North) to respond to the rapidly growing LIC community.

The Sunnyside Rail Yards station was promised as part of the original East Side Access proposal nearly two decades ago, yet has never been fully funded. As a 2001 Final Environmental Impact Statement report of the project illustrates, planners understood that Long Island City was growing and in need of a more robust, intermodal transportation system. Nearly 20 years later, Long Island City is one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the country, and East Side Access is still being built, yet there is no concrete plan for the Sunnyside station and the promise for a better transportation system in Long Island City has gone unanswered, Maloney explained, adding that the state must create the necessary infrastructure to support the fastest growing neighborhood in the city. Funding this project would allow New York City to take advantage of the transportation systems that use the Sunnyside Rail Yards and create a real transportation hub that will have a tangible, lasting impact on the city. Now, more than ever, this promise must be fulfilled.

“Nearly 20 years have passed since Long Island City was promised a new station in Sunnyside Yards and it is way past time for the state to deliver,” said Congress Member Maloney. “We need a transportation system that recognizes and accommodates the growing number of riders on our railways and one that recognizes our city’s changing commuting patterns. The current MTA Capital Plan has more than $75 million for the station. We need this station. We were promised this station. And we are calling on the MTA to put to use the resources needed to build it.”

“During my tenure in the legislature I was able to direct several million dollars to a study on the need for a station in Long Island City and a true ‘East Side Access,’” said Assembly Member Nolan. “Unfortunately, those promises, supported by objective studies, have not been fulfilled. I am so grateful to Congresswoman Maloney for highlighting the need to restore this project to the list of things we must secure for our community here in Long Island City. Fire protection, sewer and flooding improvements, additional schools, job training, and of course, more public transit are all essential to ensuring both NYC’s greatness as a world city and Western Queens as a livable community.”

“Western Queens continues to grow at a remarkable pace, but we risk stunting that growth if we’re not able to keep up when it comes to upgrading key area infrastructure,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “By building a LIRR station in Sunnyside, we will not only be fulfilling a long-overdue promise to the residents of Western Queens in need of more transit options, we will be making an absolutely critical investment that will help further diversify the borough’s economy.”

“Western Queens has seen a population boom, not only in terms of new residents, but businesses that have discovered that our community is the perfect place for them to grow and thrive. This growth has put a strain on our local infrastructure. It is time for the state to keep its promise to bring a much-needed LIRR stop to Sunnyside Yards and use the rail yards to create a world-class transportation hub in the fastest growing community in America,” said Thomas J. Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.