WANTAGH - The president of the Long Island Rail Road is on her way to a fatter paycheck as commuters prepare for upcoming fare hikes.

LIRR President Helena Williams was set to receive a $14,000 raise in 2009, but instead deferred the payments due to the nation's financial crisis. However, former MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota signed off on the increases before he resigned last year, leaving Williams with a $56,000 check. Her annual salary now stands at $243,000. 

MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg says the deferment was only a temporary measure given the state of the economy.

However, some riders say the money should be used to improve stations' appearance and the railroad's overall service.

Fare hikes of up to 9 percent are set to take place on March 1