Last month I wrote about the LIRR Third Rail project & how important it was to the overall transit infrastructure of Long Island. In Friday’s edition of Newsday, Jeffrey M. Zupan of the Regional Plan Association discussed the importance of the project in an editorial. Here is a small sample of it:
The recent announcement by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that it is seeking fare increases for next year has grabbed most of the headlines, but there’s another worrisome transit development for Long Islanders. The Long Island Rail Road announced last month that it’s considering deferring the construction of a third track on its main line between Queens Village and Hicksville. Both an underfunded MTA capital program and the opposition of adjacent property owners may derail the project.
But deferment of this project would be a setback for every Long Islander, as it would provide much-needed rail service within Long Island, give Island employers access to a vast new workforce from New York City, and give many additional Long Island residents and workers an alternative to $4.50-a-gallon gas.
The LIRR has long been a sleeping giant, unable to fully serve the Island because of the constraints imposed by the limited two-track, 11 1/2 mile stretch of its main line. This bottleneck is necessarily programmed to serve its major market into Manhattan, so it can’t serve other markets well.
Click here to read the complete editorial.
I agree with just about all the points made by Jeffery in his editorial. The only part I am not completely sold on is the tie in with the East Side Access project. While I understand it is considered a major project, I just do not personally feel it is as important as this third rail project. The third rail project would clearly benefit many more riders than East Side Access would. If one gets done, the other should be done at the same time. If the funding is not there to complete both simultaneously, I say complete the third rail project first.
xoxo Transit Blogger