Bellone unveils $350M 'Innovation Zone' transit plan

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone unveiled a four-part plan Tuesday that aims to bring jobs to the county and reverse the so-called brain drain.



The executive's $350 million Long Island Innovation Zone plan focuses on planes, trains and buses.



Part one would create a high-speed "bus-only lane" that would stretch from Stony Brook University to Patchogue Village. It would run alongside a hiking and biking trail.



Part two of the plan involves putting a new terminal on the north side of MacArthur Airport. Bellone says it would connect the airport to public transportation and make it possible to reach Manhattan in one hour.



The third phase of the plan is to build-out Ronkonkoma into a mixed-use downtown area.



Part four would involve moving the Yaphank LIRR train station one mile east to stop at Brookhaven National Lab, making it easier for employees to commute.



Bellone says once funding is secured, the project could be done in five years.



"We're going to be looking for state funding, federal funding and private funding," says Bellone.



Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy says the project is a long shot. "I don't know if we would...be able to accomplish all that in five years, and I've yet to hear anyone that wants to give us $350 million," says Kennedy.


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