At Governor’s urging, LIRR officials re-evaluated initial plans and now plan to construct entire expansion within the existing right-of-way
Governor also announces full review of all grade crossings involved in project to improve safety for local residents, motorists and pedestrians
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his proposal to significantly expand the Long Island Rail Road by adding a third track along the Main Line will not require any residential property acquisitions. Initially, the LIRR anticipated acquiring portions of up to 20 residential properties to construct the expansion, but at the Governor’s direction the preliminary plan has been revised to ensure that the addition of a third track occurs entirely within the existing right of way, eliminating the need to acquire any residential properties.
Working with local mayors and the LIRR, Governor Cuomo has also committed to reviewing all seven street-level train crossings, commonly called “grade crossings,” along the LIRR Expansion project corridor. The Governor’s administration will work with the communities to eliminate the street level crossings in consultation with the communities to find the right approach to each of the seven crossings.
“This plan is a transformative project for Long Island,” said Governor Cuomo. “My administration is fully committed to mitigating the project’s impact on surrounding communities and improving safety overall. The project will move forward on the existing right of way – so that zero homes must be acquired – and we will work hand-in-hand with local communities to ensure safe, redesigned grade crossings. I’m proud to see this project moving forward, and I thank our local partners for their support.”
The Governor made these announcements at a meeting of the Long Island Association earlier today. Video of the Governor’s remarks is available here.
Governor Cuomo has made it a priority to move this new expansion plan forward in a way that mitigates impact on the surrounding properties.
Unlike previous plans proposed a decade ago, this new effort dramatically minimizes the impact on communities along the project corridor. The Governor’s proposal is a smarter, more stream-lined proposal that reduces the proposed corridor from 11.5 in old plans to 9.8 miles in today’s plan.
When the Governor first announced the proposal, the LIRR anticipated that 20 residential property acquisitions would be required to construct the expansion – which was a significant reduction from prior LIRR expansion proposals that would have impacted hundreds of homes. With today’s announcement, residential property acquisitions will no longer be required as part of the track installation.
Currently, the LIRR is limited by track capacity. At peak times, the LIRR is forced to run trains in one direction between Floral Park and Hicksville, making it impossible for reverse commuters and intra-island travelers. In essence, millions of people are limited by a system of transportation designed and virtually unchanged from 50 years ago. In order to modernize the system, improve commutes for customers, and reduce congestion on Long Island’s roads, the Governor has proposed expanding the LIRR’s capacity between Floral Park and Hicksville. The project will allow the LIRR to increase service, reduce congestion and train delays caused whenever there is an incident along this busy stretch of tracks and will enable the LIRR to run “reverse-peak” trains to allow people to take the LIRR to jobs on Long Island during traditional business hours.
“Governor Cuomo has responded to one of the major economic priorities of Long Island by committing to fund the LIRR Expansion Project,” said Kevin Law, Co-Chair of the Coalition and President & CEO of the Long Island Association. “The Coalition applauds his commitment and looks forward to helping advance public discussion of its implementation.”
“The LIRR Expansion Project is vital to the region’s economic future, as documented by the Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation,” said Dave Kapell, Co-Chair of the Coalition, former Mayor of Greenport, and a consultant to the Rauch Foundation. “We look forward to public consideration of how this Project can best enhance the future of Long Island while mitigating local impacts to the maximum extent practicable.”