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Mayor Adams Announces More Than $120 Million In Federal Grants, Secures Administration’s Largest Federal Competitive Grant

March 13, 2024

$117 Million Federal Grant for QueensWay Will Support 1.3 Mile Greenway Extension to Forest Park, New Recreational Amenities, and New Connections to Existing Park Facilities

$5.6 Million Federal Grant Will Help City and State Advance Concepts to Reimagine Future of Brooklyn Queens Expressway Corridor in North and South Brooklyn

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today continued his administration’s unprecedented success in securing federal infrastructure funding by winning two federal “Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Program – Neighborhood Access and Equity Program” grants worth a total of $123.6 million. The grants — issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation — will support key infrastructure projects in New York City, including the second phase of the QueensWay and planning for the future of the northern and southern sections of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE).

“Our infrastructure should be bringing communities together, not tearing them apart, and that’s why we aggressively pursued these Reconnecting Communities grants, to reshape our city in a way that unites us,” said Mayor Adams. “The next phase of the QueensWay will add more greenway miles, vibrant parks, and outdoor amenities to neighborhoods across Queens, and the BQE Corridor grant we won moves us closer to undoing some of the damage that Robert Moses caused and invests in beautiful, interconnected new public spaces. My thanks to President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg for establishing this transformational grant program and investing $123 million in federal grants to support our city’s growing infrastructure needs, as well as to all of our city, state, and federal partners who went to bat for New York City.”

“Across New York, we are reconnecting communities that have long been divided by highways and building healthier and more accessible neighborhoods,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “Thanks to support from the Biden-Harris Administration, we are developing a shared vision to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers living near the BQE and I'm committed to working closely with the community and our government partners on this transformational initiative.”

"These two grants represent a huge milestone for our city — creating real momentum to stitch together historically-disadvantaged communities with green space and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. We are deeply grateful to President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg, and our federal congressional delegation, led by Majority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader Jeffries, for enabling us to invest in a greener and healthier future for our city," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. "I want to congratulate our innovative Federal Infrastructure Task Force, which we started under the Adams administration to help our agencies collaborate to create the best possible applications for federal funding and has secured over a billion dollars in infrastructure funds. This is another massive win for New York City."  

“Thanks to this major federal investment and the hard work of the Adams administration, Queens residents are getting a beautiful new way to take in the great outdoors and connect with their neighbors,” said New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “This innovative project will create a new signature park in the heart of Queens, transforming an abandoned rail line into a vibrant greenspace where New Yorkers can enjoy all the health benefits of time outdoors. With over a mile of new greenway paths for pedestrians and cyclists, the QueensWay will provide new connections between neighborhoods and give New Yorkers a safe way to get around and enjoy the fresh air. I’m so grateful to our partners in the federal government and the Adams administration for recognizing that accessible, beautiful public greenspaces aren’t a luxury — they’re essential to a livable, green, and safe city.”

“The BQE has needlessly divided communities for decades and our administration is committed to doing its part to help bring them together. Thanks to DOT’s successful grant application, we will receive millions in new funding to plan projects to reconnect neighborhoods both north and south of the corridor,” said New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We look forward to exploring projects like capping, street redesigns, and more in close collaboration with Brooklynites along the highway. I’d like to thank the Biden-Harris administration and our partners in Congress and at the state DOT for their support.”  

“This innovative project will provide Queens with one of the premier greenways in New York City, giving residents much-need open space to walk, bike, and enjoy the outdoors,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President (NYCEDC) & CEO Andrew Kimball. “Thanks to this enormous investment from the federal government, we will be able to extend this greenway more than a mile directly into Forest Park, delivering more public space for New Yorkers. NYCEDC looks forward to continue working alongside our agency partners and the local community in delivering this amazing greenway for Queens.”

“The New York State Department of Transportation looks forward to working with all of our partners in New York City to study ways to reconnect communities along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway,” said New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez. “I thank the Biden administration for making this funding available, which will help lay the foundation for future enhancements along the corridor.”

QueensWay Phase Two: Forest Park Pass, $117 million

Mayor Adams announced that NYC Parks and the Trust for Public Land won a $117 million federal grant to further develop the QueensWay, a new public park being built on a vacant corridor of the former LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch. The $117 million grant is the largest competitive federal infrastructure grant won by this administration. The Forest Park Pass project will include an approximately 1.3-mile extension of the greenway into Forest Park, new greenway bridges, new recreational amenities, and new connections to existing facilities in the park including Victory Field.

Once complete, the QueensWay will transform an abandoned railroad line into 47 acres of new park space and seven miles of greenway. The project will cover the Queens neighborhoods of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Forest Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, and Ozone Park. The proposal was conceived by the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay. The QueensWay will connect neighborhoods with a new greenway corridor of beautiful open space between diverse residential and commercial areas in the borough. The project concept is the result of an extensive community outreach that included public and stakeholder workshops, information tables at local community events and festivals, and more than 20 public tours.

In September 2022, Mayor Adams announced a $35 million investment for design and construction of Phase One of the QueensWay — the Metropolitan Hub (Met Hub). This phase of the project will transform a vacant, city-owned corridor in Forest Hills into a five-acre park with 0.7 miles of greenway, providing residents with new open space, improved access to recreational amenities, outdoor education opportunities for students, and a safe transportation corridor connecting people to schools, businesses, and 10 bus lines. NYCEDC is managing the construction of the Met Hub in collaboration with NYC Parks. The funding includes $2.5 million from the New York City Council. The Met Hub will lead into the new Forest Park Pass.

Rendering of the QueensWay. Credit: Trust for Public Land

Rendering of the QueensWay. Credit: Trust for Public Land

BQE North and South Planning Grant, $5.6 million

Mayor Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul today also announced that the DOT and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT) won a $5.6 million federal Reconnecting Communities grant to fund planning work to improve quality of life for residents living near the BQE, particularly those from disadvantaged communities.

The grant will help the city and state identify and advance proposals to reconnect communities divided by the Robert Moses-era urban highway. The city and state will develop concepts to reestablish connections in the local transportation network — improving access to jobs, services, and green space, while bolstering pedestrian and cyclist safety.

The work funded by this grant will focus on BQE North — from the Kosciuszko Bridge to Sands Street — and BQE South — from Atlantic Avenue to the Verrazzano Bridge. These sections account for 88 percent of the BQE in Brooklyn and are owned and operated by the state. Since December 2022, DOT has supported grassroots outreach and engagement efforts, led by community-based organizations, across BQE North and South. These efforts resulted in several proposals for the corridor, including partial or full highway caps, space activations and community amenities adjacent to the BQE, and road safety and intersection improvements. The study will review these proposals for feasibility, cost, community support, and other key factors. At least two of those proposals — one for BQE North and one for BQE South — will advance to partial design, laying the groundwork for DOT and NYS DOT to continue developing concepts to reconnect communities across the corridor.

These combined efforts are part of Mayor Adams’ BQE Corridor Vision, to work with communities along Brooklyn’s only interstate highway, investing in communities long divided by the highway, and fixing the city-owned triple cantilever between Atlantic Avenue and Sands Street.

Examples of treatments that could be applied to BQE North and South. Credit: Department of Transportation

Examples of treatments that could be applied to BQE North and South. Credit: Department of Transportation

The grants were evaluated based on their commitment to:

  • Equity and environmental justice
  • Improving community access
  • Infrastructure suitability
  • Community engagement and community-based partnerships
  • Equitable development
  • Climate and environment
  • Workforce development and economic opportunity

Recent federal legislation, including the Biden-Harris administration's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, have made unprecedented amounts of federal funding available for key projects across the country. Recognizing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Mayor Adams formed the Federal Infrastructure Funding Task Force. Under Deputy Mayor Joshi's guidance, that task force evaluates the competitive grant opportunities available, with a focus on new opportunities made possible through both the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, and works to break down silos and foster creativity across city agencies. The city has aligned its priorities for high-quality, sustainable, and equitable infrastructure with aggressive and creative grant applications from a wide range of infrastructure agencies. To date, the city has received over $650 million in competitive federal infrastructure grant awards from these sources.

“For many of the 2.3 million people who live in Queens, access to public parks and open space is limited, and in many cases, difficult and dangerous to access by bike or on foot.” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “I’m proud to deliver the massive infusion of federal funds, via the Inflation Reduction Act I led to passage, that will advance the Forest Park portion of the QueensWay. The QueensWay will provide much-needed green space and a new transportation corridor within walking distance of hundreds of thousands of residents and countless small businesses in Central Queens from Forest Hills to Ozone Park. I am also proud to deliver funding for the BQE Connects project to help needy communities along the BQE, like Sunset Park and Williamsburg, to advance their vision for how to best update that roadway. BQE Connects will identify ways to improve community access and reduce environmental and economic impacts on disadvantaged communities adjacent to the BQE.”

“I’m proud to have worked closely with the Biden administration to secure this grant, which is a down payment to rectify generations of environmental injustice caused by the BQE,” said U.S. Representative Dan Goldman. “It’s more important than ever that we finally put together a comprehensive plan to reimagine the entire BQE corridor, addressing the environmental justice issues that plague the northern and southern portions of the expressway and bringing communities back together. I look forward to continuing to work together with the city, the state, and the federal government to ensure we see this project through to completion.”

“I am excited to help announce this crucial federal money for the QueensWay project, which I advocated for in helping to pass the Inflation Reduction Act and in a letter I sent to the Secretary of Transportation,” said U.S. Representative Grace Meng. “QueensWay will provide more needed greenspace in our borough and ensure many benefits to the public including upgraded infrastructure, additional transportation options, and connecting neighborhoods. In communities like Queens, greenspace is limited and transportation projects, have historically disconnected diverse neighborhoods and discouraged walkability, and QueensWay stands to help change this. As New York’s Representative on the Regional Leadership Council, I look forward to continuing to help move this project forward.”

"Today, we are continuing to reimagine and transform our infrastructure to meet the needs of all New Yorkers,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “As representative of Forest Park, I am proud that we obtained $117 million—the single biggest competitive federal infrastructure grant in this administration’s history—for the QueensWay Forest Park Pass. Our beloved park is the Crown Jewel of my home of Woodhaven, and the new greenway will be the icing on the cake. This is a blessing to my constituents in Woodhaven, Forest Park, Ozone Park, Glendale, Richmond Hill ,and Little Guyana. Today we also make history by launching the revitalization of the BQE North to interlink communities. This plan is informed by extensive community feedback. I am proud to work with Mayor Adams to deliver the aid we need to make our city’s infrastructure the most liveable, user-friendly, and inviting it has ever been."

“I am thrilled to see that the QueensWay is progressing and want to express my deep appreciation to Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for the amazing infusion of funds to make the QueensWay a reality for future generations,” said New York City Councilmember Lynn Schulman. “This project would not have gotten off the ground without Mayor Adams, his administration, the City Council, and all the community advocates who worked tirelessly on this wonderful green space.”

“For more than a decade, Trust for Public Land has been a steadfast collaborator with community partners, advocating for the transformative repurposing of the rail line and recognizing its potential for positive change across Queens,” said Diane Regas, CEO, Trust for Public Land (TPL). “With the announcement of $117 million in funding from the U.S. DOT, specifically allocated to the Forest Park Pass section of the QueensWay, a new chapter in our mission unfolds. In strategically linking these diverse neighborhoods via Forest Park Pass, TPL reaffirms its commitment to better connecting culturally rich and historically underserved communities with the outdoors. This funding acts as a powerful catalyst, propelling us towards the realization of a vibrant linear park, QueensWay, that spans communities across Queens. TPL is grateful to Mayor Adams and to be part of this extraordinary journey towards a more vibrant, connected, and equitable future for more New Yorkers.”

“Friends of the QueensWay has been advocating for our communities and activation of this rails to trails project for more than a decade, and we commend federal and city leaders for collaborating on this extraordinary investment to activate quality park space and parks access,” said Friends of the Queensway. “For many of the 2.3 million people who live in Queens, access to public parks and open space is limited, and in many cases, difficult and dangerous to access by bike or on foot. By reclaiming and redeveloping the abandoned rail, the QueensWay will provide public access to green space, while acting as a main artery of the borough, connecting six distinct neighborhoods and Forest Park.”

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