MTA details LIRR improvement plan

MTA officials met in Manhattan Monday to discuss safety improvements and restored services that it says are the next stop for the Long Island Rail

Service is now suspended between Port Jefferson and

Service is now suspended between Port Jefferson and Huntington because of flooding conditions east of the Smithtown station.

NEW YORK - MTA officials met in Manhattan Monday to discuss safety improvements and restored services that it says are the next stop for the Long Island Rail Road.

The changes are coming because of what the MTA is calling $635 million in "net favorable results" through 2017. Millions will be spent on safety improvements like adding security cameras on trains. Additional seating will be added on trains that need it, and service will be restored on lines that were cut as part of a cost-slashing initiative in 2010, the MTA says.

Weekend service in West Hempstead will be restored, after once being cut due to low ridership. Also, peak trains or near-capacity trains will get an additional two cars heading into stations in Port Washington, Babylon, Huntington and Bethpage.

The investment announcement comes just days after the state comptroller said the MTA will need $27 million to close a budget shortfall. The comptroller also questioned how the MTA will pay for its new labor agreement with the LIRR, and suggested fare and toll hikes could be in store.

Today, MTA President Tom Prendergast promised that the recent collective bargaining agreement has "provided no pressure to the fares and tolls."

The MTA had already announced a plan to raise fares by 4 percent beginning next March, but says there are no plans to raise them any higher.

There will be public hearings on the MTA's financial plan, including on the expected fare increase, starting in the fall. The MTA will vote on its budget plan in December.

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