As Gov. Andrew Cuomo embarks on an extensive press tour to promote his plan to bring a privately-funded convention center to the Ozone Park area, reporters have asked him about the transit implications of such a plan. As I’ve mentioned in the past, the proposed area out near the Aqueduct and JFK Airport, isn’t particularly transit-accessible with only sporadic A train service and a nearby AirTrain. That isn’t stopping the governor though from eying the spot — and the $4 billion in private funds that come with it — optimistically.
Speaking with reporters earlier today, Cuomo said in a reponse to a question on mass transit, “The MTA is working on additional transit applications.” He touted the fact that Genting will pay for the construction of the convention center and will carry the costs of some transportation-related aspects of the project as well.
Admittedly, it’s still early in this process, but early is when key decisions are made. The MTA, governor and Genting must be as transparent and inclusive as possible in this process. A successful convention center will incorporate increased transit access without taking frequency away from popular stops further down the line, and the MTA should not be expected to cover the operating costs of increased service or the capital costs of building out a rail extension or new station stops. Now is the time for these concerns to see the light of day and not when the shovels are entering the ground.