Citizens Against Rail Expansion (CARE) urges local residents to appear and testify against the MTA LIRR Third Track proposal on Jan. 17, 18 and 19.
At present Governor Andrew Cuomo does not have the funding for this project which CARE hopes to eliminate from future budgets in the New York State Senate through the efforts of Senators Elaine Phillips, Kemp Hannon and Majority Leader John J. Flanagan. CARE urges local residents to voice opposition to this multi-billion dollar project.
Schedule of MTA LIRR hearings is as follows:
- Tuesday, Jan. 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Yes We Can Community Center, 141 Garden St., Westbury
- Wednesday, Jan. 18, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- David S. Mack Student Center at Hofstra University, Hempstead
- Thursday, Jan. 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- The Inn at New Hyde Park, 214 Jericho Tpke., New Hyde Park
The latest version of the proposal of more than 2,500 pages was made public at Thanksgiving—before the Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year holidays—leaving little time to study its negative impact on the communities along the Main Line from Floral Park to Hicksville. The proposal Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) can be viewed by going to www.amodernli.com or a hard copy is available for review at the Floral Park Library.
According to Ann and Bill Corbett, CARE spokespersons, those testifying should get to the hearings early and be prepared to offer their testimony and complaints. Speakers should present their main points within the first four minutes of testimony since there is expected to be a limit of four to five minutes per speaker. Speakers should submit a more detailed version of their comments in writing to MTA and have extra copies of their testimony to provide to the news media in attendance. Anyone can submit written comments if they do not want to speak publicly.
CARE is a coalition of 130 local organizations, individuals and elected and former elected officials who oppose this project on the grounds that it is unnecessary.
Major objections to the project during the four-year construction phase include the adverse impact on local business districts, added noise and vibration from additional freight trains, disturbance of possible toxic chemicals in the soil at the construction areas, permanent loss of parking spaces under the railroad tracks and more.
Missing from the plan are any improvements to the Floral Park Railroad Station, including handicap access that has been requested by local government officials for years.
Details regarding the storage and staging areas have not been clarified. While it is believed that vacant land at Belmont Racetrack will be one of the locations there is only vague reference to the movement of heavy equipment, land fill, waste, supplies and workers.
Floral Park Mayor Tom Tweedy and the members of the Board of Trustees have retained environmental law firm Beverage and Diamond and an engineering firm, which will present analysis and objections to the plan. The villages of Garden City and New Hyde Park have joined in this effort.
CARE salutes Town of Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino for writing the Governor asking for a reasonable extension of the comment period. CARE urges local concerned residents to write and call Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to urge him to weigh in on the issue.
There is little objection to the removal of the seven grade crossings for safety reasons if it done in an intelligent manner taking into consideration the impact during construction on local traffic patterns and resident concerns. The current plan outlines overlap in the construction schedule.
Also contained in the report—the Carle Place LIRR Station may be closed for a year with passengers being bused to Westbury. Construction will likely occur at night or on weekends.
While the proponents claim that the work will be done in four years any intelligent observer will note that their projections for the east side access at Grand Central Terminal and the 2nd Avenue Subway has taken at least twice as long as they predicted and many times more expensive than their early estimates. There are billions of tax dollars at stake here with little or no gain for most of the impacted communities, and a number of small businesses will be impacted negatively and may not survive.
—Submitted by Citizens Against Rail Expansion (CARE)