Pheffer Amato Praises Cuomo on Upgrade of Route 878

“No matter county line, that’s our evacuation route and our backyard”

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato attended the press conference this past weekend at the Five Towns Community Center unveiling a $130 million overhaul of Route 878, the Nassau Expressway, which connects JFK Airport with Long Beach via the Five Towns. The project, which will fortify the crucial highway against storms, install state-of-the-art signaling, and create bicycle and pedestrian lanes, is expected to begin construction in 2019, six years ahead of schedule.

Pheffer Amato applauded the infrastructure upgrade in next-door Nassau County. “When the bridges connecting Rockaway Peninsula to Brooklyn and Queens are blocked, or for folks further East, the people of my district use 878 as their primary evacuation route. No matter the county line, this is our backyard,” she said. “More superstorms, like Sandy, are all but guaranteed, so we need ways to leave when necessary. This project is forward-thinking, protects our critical evacuation routes, and is being done quickly - which matters. The people of the 23rd District are extremely grateful for the priority that the Governor has given to their safety.”

The substantial Orthodox Jewish population on both sides of the Queens-Nassau line forms one contiguous community, and Pheffer Amato said the upgrades to 878 will also help them cross safely to go to shul. Right now, with decaying and misrouted infrastructure, the on-foot journey is perilous. This is problematic for observant Jews, who are prohibited from driving on the Sabbath. “You shouldn’t have to worry, when you go to daven, that poor urban planning puts you at risk of being hurt,” said Pheffer Amato. “These are established communities, the beating heart of the Eastern part of my district. Pedestrian safety is the highest priority, and this plan prioritizes that. For that, as well, the Governor’s office has our thanks.”

Pheffer Amato also made a case that “QueensRail is the new 878,” playfully suggesting that the Governor continue his JFK-adjacent infrastructure upgrade project by reopening the Rockaway Beach Rail Line. The proposal, called QueensRail, would provide “drastically improved commuter times from the Rockaway Peninsula to Midtown Manhattan, as well as single-seat access from Manhattan to JFK.” Pheffer Amato and her predecessor, Phil Goldfeder, are both strong advocates for QueensRail. The proposal is currently being studied.