MTA Worker Commits Suicide In Subway Station

Sadly the weekend got off to a grim start in the world of transit as a MTA maintenance worker committed suicide after jumping in front of a Bronx-bound 6 Train shortly before the afternoon rush hour on Friday. Rocco Parascandola of the New York Daily News has more:

The MTA maintenance worker was killed Friday afternoon when she leapt in front of an oncoming Midtown subway train — at the exact spot where she knew the impact would certainly kill her, officials and police sources said.

McClain, 45, jumped in front of a northbound 6 train at the 59th St. station about 2:45 p.m., the sources said.
The worker jumped at the end of the platform, where the uptown train barrels into the station, police sources said.

Click here for the complete report.

I would like to take this time & offer my deepest condolences to the friends & family of Kelly McClain. May you all do your best to find peace during these troubling times.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Sen Schumer Seeks $550M For Repairs

In a followup to the story of the U.S. District Court’s decision to cap the payout at $125M for Amtrak for superstorm Sandy damage, Senator Chuck Schumer is seeking $550M in unused superstorm Sandy funds to help Amtrak fund its proposed project to fix the East River tunnels. Newsday Transit Reporter Alfonso A. Castillo has more:

Sen. Chuck Schumer has asked federal officials to use $550 million in untapped Sandy aid to help pay for repairs to the badly damaged East River tunnels primarily used by the Long Island Rail Road.

In a letter written Saturday, Schumer urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate to tap $800 million of unobligated federal superstorm Sandy funding to help pull Amtrak, which owns the tunnels, out of the fiscal jam caused by a recent federal court decision.

In his letter, Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the court decision could cause Amtrak to delay repairs “for a number of years” as it waits for a decision on an appeal. That could also set back the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access project to link the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal. Amtrak and MTA officials have said the schedules of the two projects need to be closely coordinated.

“This is simply unacceptable,” Schumer wrote. “Both projects — the repair of the East River Tubes and the East Side Access project — are simply too important to Long Island, NYC, New Jersey and all of the New York metro region to be placed into jeopardy.”

Click here for the complete report.

While I don’t agree with a lot of Senator Schumer’s positions, I give him a lot of credit for stepping up & fighting for funding of such an important transit infrastructure project. He unlike many other elected officials in our area at least understands that our region needs proper funding to help build & maintain arguably the world’s most important transit infrastructure.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Payout Cap Could Cause LIRR Repair Delays

The fallout from superstorm Sandy continues to rear its ugly head in the tri-state area in terms of our transit infrastructure. One of those key pieces is the Amtrak owned East River Tunnels that the LIRR uses to & from Penn Station.

Last year the much maligned Amtrak proposed plans to fix 2 of the 4 East River Tunnels at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. However a recent ruling from the U.S. District Court in a lawsuit between the agency and multiple insurance companies capped the payout at $125M, far short of the amount needed for project completion.

Newsday Transit Reporter Alfonso A. Castillo of Newsday has more:

A federal court ruling capping how much insurance companies will have to pay out for superstorm Sandy damage to the East River tunnels primarily used by the LIRR could cause big delays to planned repairs as the tunnels’ owner, Amtrak, scrambles to find money for the fixes, officials said.

The project, proposed last year by Amtrak, would rehabilitate two of the four rail tunnels running between Queens and Penn Station — a massive undertaking that would require removing each of the two tunnels from service for a year at a time and cost “several hundred million dollars,” according to the agency.

However, a recent U.S. District Court ruling in a lawsuit between Amtrak and several insurance companies limited the insurance payout to Amtrak for the tunnel damage to just $125 million. That’s enough to move forward with ongoing work to design the project, but not nearly enough for its construction, which Amtrak hopes to begin in two to three years.

The tunnels were inundated with 14 million gallons of floodwaters during the October 2012 storm, and Amtrak officials said corrosive salts and chlorides left behind have continued to deteriorate the underground structures.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff sided with insurance providers in ruling that the tunnel damage falls within a $125 million limit for flood damage. Amtrak, in a $1.1 billion suit filed earlier this year, argued that the damage was caused by wind-driven storm surges, which are different from flood, and that the water and salt damage were separate.

Click here for the complete report.

I do not find it surprising whatsoever that our court system has failed to do what is right as that trend has been going strong for quite sometime. The real victims of this are the LIRR riders who already pay for overpriced service & now face the potential of critical repairs not being completed. If by any remote chance, the MTA has to help procure the difference, we can all but guarantee that the costs will somehow trickle down to commuters.

Hopefully this decision can be overturned so that Amtrak could actually get something useful done for a change. I’m not holding my breath though…..

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Garage Fees Rise At 2 LIRR Stations

LIRR riders have been echoing how they just can’t catch a financial break for quite sometime. Some riders at Mineola & Ronkonkoma will be shouting even louder as of September 1st when garage parking fees rise. News 12 Long Island has more in this brief report:

MTA and Long Island Rail Road officials say parking garage fees are going up at the Ronkonkoma and Mineola train stations.

The fees will rise from $54 a month to $70 a month.

As News 12 reported last week, parking at the newly built garage at the Wyandanch train station will start out at $70.

The MTA and LIRR say the hike will cover maintenance and 24-hour security.

Click here for the complete report.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Service Diversions 08-21-15

Get a start on your weekend travel plans as I have just updated the Service Diversions through all of next week.

Make sure to follow @TransitBlogger on Twitter by clicking the button in the sidebar as I am using it more often. Also if you are into indie music make sure to follow @IndMusicReview & @SurgeFM!

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