Cuomo announces plan for LIRR expansion

The billion-dollar plan includes adding a third LIRR track in Nassau County.

The billion-dollar plan includes adding a third LIRR track in Nassau County. (1/5/16)

WOODBURY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a plan to expand the Long Island Rail Road. 

During a Long Island Association breakfast Tuesday, Cuomo announced a $1.5 billion plan, which includes a third track from Floral Park to Hicksville.

Cuomo said the plan will increase track capacity, making it easier to run trains both ways, and improve service reliability.

In the past, Cuomo highlighted that there have been proposals to expand LIRR tracks, but they were rejected. Cuomo said that the new proposal stays within the existing right of way by moving existing tracks to accommodate the third.

Cuomo also said that the new proposal reduces the length of track from 11.5 miles to 9.8 miles and requires an average of 5 feet from 20 homeowners.

The track project will directly impact about 50 property owners in total -- 30 commercial and 20 residential -- according to the governor's office. It was not immediately clear which communities will be affected.

MTA president Thomas Prendergast said affected property owners would be contacted within 30 days.

News 12 Long Island’s Shari Einhorn spoke to some residents who are concerned about the tracks being extended in their backyard.

Floral Park resident Robert Burrous told News 12 Long Island that he would rather they did not have the third rail. Meanwhile, Garden City Park resident Gino Villamar told News 12 that he is very worried.

The plan also includes the funding of a feasibility study on building a tunnel from Long Island across the Sound to either the Bronx, Westchester County or Connecticut.

In addition to the LIRR plan, Cuomo also said there are plans for redevelopment at Republic Airport and to house customs at MacArthur Airport. The move would make MacArthur Airport capable of international travel.

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