MANHATTAN - Long Island Rail Road commuters are being reassured that their train fares will not be affected by the agreement reached by the MTA and employee unions.

MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast says the deal puts "no additional pressure" on train fares. The MTA and LIRR employee unions agreed on a 17 percent raise for employees, but commuters will not be paying for it.

The 17 percent raise was suggested earlier this year by a Presidential Emergency Board. The MTA argued it could not pay for a raise without cost-saving concessions from LIRR employees, which the deal struck Thursday now includes. In exchange for the raise, all union employees will contribute to their own health insurance costs. New employees will contribute to health care and pension costs and will have different wage progressions.

Union leaders say negotiators on both sides always kept the commuters in mind while working toward a deal and wanted to make sure fares would not be raised.