Advocate for Both Feminism and Zionism
Jewish feminists who support Israel feel unwelcome in progressive groups which claim that Zionism and feminism are mutually exclusive (do not intersect). Jewish feminists can explain that Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. Zionism does not imply agreement with all policies of the current Israeli government. I suggest that Jewish feminists should urge the progressive groups to have their platforms advocate direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
MTA vs Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Train
Contrast our large transportation projects such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Long Island Rail Road East Side Access to Grand Central Terminal project with "High-Speed Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Rail Coming Down the Track" (Abigail Klein Leichman — April 7). At a recent MTA board meeting, it was announced that construction of the LIRR ESA project had fallen behind another year.
This means that the completion date may slip once again by one year from December 2022 to December 2023 and the costs might also increase. We have heard this story over and over since 2001. I have previously written and predicted about both possibilities over the past two years and sadly they have come true. A cat has nine lives and this project may have already used them all up.
The original Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) between the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and MTA was approved in December 2006. The $2.63 billion of Federal Grant funding remains unchanged (virtually all of which has already been spent) with the MTA as local sponsor having to cover the $6 billion and growing cost overruns. Ten years later in August 2016 the US DOT FTA amended MTA LIRR ESA FFGA was signed off by both US DOT FTA and the MTA.
After years of negotiations, the MTA and US DOT FTA finally came to an agreement which would reflect the true current cost and schedule. Both the cost went up and first revenue day of service slipped once again. Taxpayers may end up paying $12 billion in direct costs for this project. The odds have increased that riders may have to wait until December 31, 2023 before boarding the first LIRR train to Grand Central Terminal.
The MTA has repeatedly increased the budget by billions and pushed back the first day of service by years.
On numerous occasions the MTA has blamed Amtrak for being responsible for additional delays on the progression of LIRR ESA to Grand Central Terminal project. Insufficient support from Amtrak has been responsible for periodic delays since 2006.
Since 2001, the total direct cost for MTA LIRR ESA to Grand Central Terminal has grown from $3.5 billion to $4.3 billion in 2003, $6.3 billion in 2006, $8.4 billion in 2012, $10.8 billion in 2014 and easily up $12 billion when finally completed.
When it comes to completion of ESA, the 1960's LIRR motto "Line of the Dashing Dan" in 2017 might have to be changed to "Line of the Slow Moving Sloth."
(Larry Penner is a transportation historian and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the US Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office.)
Kids of Courage
I'd like to tell everyone about a great organization called Kids of Courage. It's a Jewish, volunteer-based organization, dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults with serious medical diagnoses. Kids of Courage is committed to change the way people look at illness, and open up a world of support, hope and opportunity for every sick child and family, no matter how serious the diagnosis is.
Kids of Courage provides these individuals with the opportunity to enjoy experiences that would otherwise be untenable.
If you need help or would like to donate please do not hesitate to contact me via email.
Three Cheers for Brooklynites!
I’ve been a subscriber to the JewishVoiceNY for more than a year, now. I keep up with the world by reading the content of this newspaper.
However, this is the first time I’ve written a letter to the Editor. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading the two installments of the story of Paul Cohen, the boy from Brooklyn who made it big in the music business.
The Borough of Brooklyn has contributed so much to the culture of New York and indeed, the world. The presentation of Brooklyn-ites who have enriched the arts is something I look forward to reading more about, in future issues.
Keep up the good work.
Plant City, Florida