Third Track Concerns

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It appears Governor Andrew Cuomo is desperately trying to win support for the MTA LIRR $2 billion third track project. Since January of 2016 he has tried to mastermind approval and the funding for the construction of this 9.6 mile additional railroad track from Floral Park to Hicksville.

Despite lengthy but grossly inadequate environmental studies that were issued in August and November of 2016 and April 2017, there is no question that the main line communities involved have not been treated equally. The communities of Garden City, New Hyde Park and Floral Park have submitted to the MTA LIRR documents with countless legitimate concerns and questions regarding this proposed project. For instance, there is concern about poor water drainage related to the preliminary engineering plan for retaining walls/sound barriers and the potential for residential backyard flooding; contaminated soil becoming airborne during construction; work schedules to include weekends, 24/7 workdays; construction causing unbearable/destructive noise and vibrations; alteration of normal vehicular traffic patterns leading to motorist headaches, delays and possibility of accidents, commuter train delays and the list goes on and on.

The sad thing for commuters is that they reap no benefits from additional third track only inconveniences during the four-year plus construction phase. We are told there will be only two additional trains—one east and one west. Not one of the communities along the main line will have more service. Floral Park reaps no benefits at its station. Just years of noisy construction work, traffic jams and permanent loss of parking spaces. Communities west of Garden City such as Mineola will get a multilevel parking garage and Westbury will also get a garage. Floral Park is only getting disruptive construction for two to three years as per schedule outlined in environmental study.

The MTA LIRR has experienced a number of significant problems in the past year that have inconvenienced commuters by the thousands. These problems do not involve the existing tracks that run from Floral Park to Hicksville. The entire system, particularly to the east of Floral Park, needs to have upgrades and fixes that are necessary and should not be put on the back burner while an unnecessary third track project is funded and constructed.

This is a David and Goliath situation. The governor is angry at the citizens who have voiced the truth about this project and officials who dare to confront him on the inadequacies of the third track proposal, the studies and the colossal cost to the public. His ears and mind are closed to those who see that this undertaking is not ready to take off. He is obviously pressuring business leaders, big businesses, political leaders, education leaders and union members to go along with his plan to construct yet another expensive project to project himself as another Robert Moses. He is sparing no expense to promote this project in ads on TV and in print media. We can see through his ambitious, condescending and punishing attitude. So those who want to have a say in how their tax dollars should be spent in the great state of New York need to contact their government elected officials to stop this project from going forward. Important high level deliberations are going on now, and it is vitally important that the voices of people opposing this project be loud and clear. We may not have the money to broadcast our position but we do have the strong voices of the people who CARE.

—Ann V. Corbett

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