From the Staten Island Advance:
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Staten Island commuters who have been banging their heads on their steering wheels over the lack of spaces at a popular park-and-ride can exhale a bit.
Officials yesterday cut the ribbon on 159 new parking spots at the Eltingville Transit Center, bringing the total at the busy facility up to 382.
"Hundreds of Staten Islanders a day will benefit from it," said Rep. Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn), who was joined at the center by state Department of Transportation (DOT) officials and borough lawmakers.
The $2.3 million expansion, begun last October, was the first transportation project under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to break ground in the city, and the second to be completed, according to Phillip Eng, regional director for the state DOT.
McMahon said the expansion would save 7,500 hours of vehicle delay and 850,000 gallons of fuel per year.
He said 15,000 hours of work had been put in by contractors, including those working for DiFazio Industries, at the site.
"It's about making jobs, and making it easier for people to get to their jobs," said McMahon.
The Eltingville center, near the intersection of Richmond Avenue and Arthur Kill Road, serves 16 bus lines.
"I'm sure this lot will be filled by tomorrow," said Borough President James P. Molinaro.
City Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-South Shore) hailed federal, state and city officials for working together on the project.
"It's good to see projects get fast-tracked like this," said Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island).
McMahon pointed out that another result of the project was the opening of a portion of unused highway nearby to trucks working on the Brookfield landfill cleanup.
Without use of the highway, those trucks would have clogged Arthur Kill Road, he said. That part of the project was pushed heavily by Ignizio, beginning when he served in the Assembly.
McMahon said that other stimulus projects, including work on the Staten Island Expressway and the St. George Ferry Terminal, remained on track.
"That's what the Recovery Act was for, to get people working," said Eng.
Acting DOT commissioner Stanley Gee credited McMahon and the New York congressional delegation with bringing $1 billion in stimulus money back home.
"They led the way for our Recovery Act funding for the city," said Gee.
Officials yesterday also highlighted the $1.7 million expansion of the Huguenot park-and-ride, where 99 new spots came on line in May.
Also appearing at yesterday's ribbon-cutting were state Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Assemblywoman Janele Hyer-Spencer (Mid-Island/Brooklyn).