Ronkonkoma, NY - September 18, 2015 - United States Senator Charles E. Schumer, today, announced a major effort to help secure much-needed federal infrastructure funding for the massive Ronkonkoma Hub Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Project. Schumer called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to support the Town of Brookhaven’s application for federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant funding. Specifically, Schumer is seeking $13.8 million in federal funding for the portion of the project that would enhance roadway access to the TOD from the Long Island Expressway, construct new roadways, and rehabilitate existing roadways. The Ronkonkoma Hub Transit Oriented Development project is located at the Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) busiest station, the Ronkonkoma Station, and nearby the Long Island MacArthur Airport. Due to its prime location, Schumer argued that the proposed project has the potential to serve as a major intermodal transit hub, however, a roadway overhaul is needed in order to accommodate the influx of commuters, residents, employees and shoppers expected to use the multi-use space. Therefore, Schumer is supporting the Town of Brookhaven’s proposal for federal TIGER funding, which will include a hub roadway system that will enhance overall roadway access between the Ronkonkoma Hub and the Long Island Expressway, via Hawkins Avenue and create new roadways to provide access to proposed buildings within the development project. In addition, the proposed project aims to provide regional connectivity between other downtown developments and large employment centers, like Stony Brook University. The proposed project will also help make mass transit a viable alternative, especially reverse commuting from New York City because of the proposed second track along the LIRR. Schumer explained that this federal funding is sorely needed in order to meet the transit needs for those in the community and help redevelop the blighted properties that surround the proposed site. Overall, the TIGER funding will help provide access to the Ronkonkoma Hub and to the modes of transportation available within the hub.
Schumer was joined by Supervisor Ed Romaine and Councilmember Neil Foley.
“The Ronkonkoma Hub project is a game changer for Long Island and has real potential to reshape the face of the most widely used transit center on the Long Island Railroad and that’s why we need to do everything possible to make sure that Long Islanders far and wide have easy and direct access to this critically-needed intermodal transit hub,” said Senator Schumer. “This project is the definition of what TIGER grant funding is all about, and so, I will hit the gas on fighting to secure the federal dollars that projects like this hub and roadway system deserve.”
“Creating a strong economic base and new jobs is critical to Brookhaven’s future. The Ronkonkoma Hub will have a significant impact far beyond the borders of Brookhaven,” said Supervisor Romaine. “I want to thank Senator Schumer for his support and efforts to secure federal infrastructure funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for this regional project.”
Schumer has long advocated for and supported the $474 million transformative Ronkonkoma Hub Transit Oriented Development Project. Over 17,000 weekday passengers originate at Ronkonkoma LIRR station, which is also served by the Suffolk County Transit bus service as well as taxis and shuttle service to the airport. The overall proposed Ronkonkoma Hub project includes 195,000 square feet of retail uses, 1,450 housing units, 360,000 square feet of office space, and 60,000 square feet of flexible uses like residential, hospitality, conference and exhibition space. The Ronkonkoma Hub will serve as an intermodal transit center, as it includes rail travel, air travel, bus transit, pedestrian traffic and bicycle travel. Roadway construction is expected to be completed in 2018, prior to completion of the second LIRR track from Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale.
Specifically, the TIGER grant would enhance direct roadway access between the Ronkonkoma Hub Transit Oriented Development Project and the Long Island Expressway, via Hawkins Avenue, which is a National Highway System Intermodal Connector. The TIGER grant would also incorporate the required roadway mitigation improvements identified in the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed project. Federal funding would also be used to create new roadways needed to provide access to proposed buildings and completely rehabilitate existing roadways by reconstructing the pavement and providing drainage, lighting and streetscape improvements. Under Suffolk County’s ‘Connect Long Island Initiative’ the hub’s roadways will provide regional connectivity between major employment centers as well as research facilities, residences and other downtown “smart growth” developments, offices and retail centers.
In addition to the many other benefits, according to the Town of Brookhaven, a new roadway system would help safety within the community. Specifically, roadway reconstruction would incorporate new travel and turning lanes, a roundabout and traffic signal coordination which, in turn, would result in a reduction in traffic accidents.
Schumer has fought to secure TIGER funds for important New York projects, including the Rochester Inner Loop Reconstruction, the “Cars Sharing Main Street” initiative in downtown Buffalo, the Syracuse Connective Corridor, and upgrades to the Capital District Transportation Authority’s Bus Rapid Transit System. In fact, over the last six years, TIGER funds have helped to pay for over $225 million in projects throughout New York, even in more rural cities like Oswego Schumer said. Similarly, he will fight just as hard to secure TIGER funds for the Ronkonkoma Hub Transit Oriented Development Project here on Long Island.