Melville, New York – (July 11, 2017) – New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s statement today endorsing the third track project was met by collective and region-wide excitement, led by founders and chair members of the Right Track for Long Island Coalition. The Coalition is a grassroots group that set out to push the LIRR Expansion Project forward through public outreach and education about the LIRR and the need for systemwide upgrades and improvements for commuters, local businesses and the adjacent communities.
“This is not a victory for one elected official or one community,” said Dave Kapell, Executive Director of Right Track for Long Island Coalition. “The third track is a game changer for our region that will pay benefits forward for generations. It is also proof that Long Islanders can come together to make progress for our larger community.”
The forward movement comes 6 weeks after approval by the MTA Board and signals the end of over a year of public meetings, negotiations and Island-wide collaboration. The current version of the LIRR Expansion Project includes a 9.8 mile long third track along the LIRR’s main line between Floral Park and Hicksville, as well as the elimination of seven grade level crossings, 6 new parking structures, sound attenuation walls, 5 new state-of-the-art stations, and additional efforts to mitigate construction in order to meet the needs of the villages most directly impacted.
“There is no question that the third track will help catalyze a new level of prosperity for Long Islanders,” said Kevin Law, Co-Chairman of Right Track for Long Island Coalition and President and CEO of the Long Island Association. “Today’s victory was a long time coming, but we are grateful to Governor Cuomo, Senator Flanagan and every local leader and elected official that came to the table and ultimately did the right thing for their constituents, our neighbors and the entire region.”
Over the last several months the urgent need for major investment in rail infrastructure has presented itself in dramatic fashion with issues on the LIRR, Amtrak and within Penn Station, coming to a head and impacting commuters almost daily. Service
problems, incidents in Penn Station and equipment malfunctions have caused hundreds of trains to be canceled or delayed during rush hour and throughout the day.
“Modernizing the railroad and investing in our infrastructure are proven ways to create jobs, grow our economy and to make sure that families come here, stay here and grow here,” said George Truicko, Assistant Business Manager of Laborers Local 1298 and Co-Chair of the Right Track for Long Island Coalition. “The third track will benefit commuters and local business and it will bring thousands of jobs to our members and families throughout Long Island.”
The Right Track for Long Island Coalition is a grassroots group formed in January 2016, now made up of over 5,000 businesses, labor unions, non-profits, municipal organizations, elected officials, individuals and commuters from throughout the region, speaking for over 2 million Long Islanders. As of March 2017, supporters include bipartisan elected leaders from both counties, including communities within the corridor.
The Coalition was formed as a collaborative effort to support the LIRR Expansion Project, which is a top economic, environmental and transit priority for Long Island and will help retain and attract the young people and new business essential for the future health of the region.