When the new LIRR Expansion Project was announced this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo promised an unprecedented level of community outreach to gather your input and incorporate it into our work.
We’re keeping that promise. And we’re doing it in two steps.
First, as you may know, in May we released a preliminary report called a “Draft Scoping Document” that sought to list all potential environmental impacts that needed study in connection with the project. Then we held six public meetings and a public comment period to help identify what to analyze. That outreach effort and public comment period was more extensive than efforts conducted for much larger projects at this stage, including the new World Trade Center, the new bridge to replace the Tappan Zee and the new 2nd Avenue Subway line.
That’s because we are determined to understand and research all concerns you want addressed. For those of you who participated and submitted comments on issues you felt should be addressed, I would like to say thank you.
This “scoping” process is similar to making a “to-do” list. Once you have the list, the critical next step is to decide how you are going to accomplish the items on it.
In other words, making the list of the issues to study – and making sure all of your concerns are on that list to be addressed – is only the first step in the community input process.
A final version of this report will be released later this summer.
The second part of the community input process is yet to come.
The second part of the process, where we will address our detailed research and analysis of each issue raised along with our proposals about how to address each issue – will come later this year in a report called a “Draft Environmental Impact Statement,” or DEIS.
The DEIS will contain much greater detail about all aspects of what the proposed project will look like – the potential benefits of the project, what impacts the project may have, and what measures we can take to reduce any adverse impacts.
The DEIS will answer in painstaking detail all questions and issues identified in the scoping “to do” list. It will be the result of thousands of hours of testing and analysis on the potential environmental impacts of the project – work that’s going on right now and will continue throughout the summer and fall.
The release of the DEIS will be followed by another formal public comment period, and another round of public hearings in order to give property owners, commuters, community leaders and all other stakeholders the opportunity to weigh in on aspects of this project.
We intend to listen – and listen carefully – and will respond to your input.
Many of you have already raised the issue of construction impacts on communities within the 9.8-mile project corridor. We have taken particular note of those comments and are considering how to get early input and innovative ideas from the construction industry on ways to minimize construction impacts. We promise to keep you posted about this.
In the meantime, there are a lot of ways you can learn about the project, continue to ask us questions and continue to tell us what you think. We will never stop listening to you and taking your feedback into consideration as the project continues.
Visit us at www.aModernLI.com, visit our Project Information Center at Mineola Station, and follow us on Twitter (@aModernLI) to learn more and to reach out.
We look forward to hearing from you.
President, Long Island Rail Road