Public hearings to be held on LIRR 3rd track project
Some Long Island Rail Road riders and advocates are skeptical that a proposed multibillion-dollar third track project will be worth its hassle, while others are excited about the proposal's promised benefits.
Supporters and opponents alike will get a chance to voice their minds at a series of upcoming public hearings on the proposal and its potential environmental impact.
Bill Corbett, of Citizens Against Rail Expansion, is voicing opposition to the LIRR's third track expansion proposal. As News 12 has reported, the plan would add a third track along an approximate 10-mile stretch from Floral Park to Hicksville.
Corbett, of Floral Park, says he has numerous concerns. "Number one, it is not necessary to spend a couple billion dollars on this project; number two, the upset and trouble its going to cause for the 10 communities between here and Hicksville is devastating," he says.
The LIRR says adding the third track would allow for more trains to come in and out of Penn Station during the morning and evening rush. Seven grade crossings would also be eliminated, including one on Main Street in Mineola. The entire project would cost about $2 billion, according to officials.
Dave Kapell, with Right Track for Long Island, argues there are important benefits to the project, such as new parking structures with more than 2,000 new parking spaces, plus sound walls to reduce noise and vibration levels below current levels, and plans to rebuild five stations.
"At the end of the project, that corridor is going to be transformed into the flagship of the LIRR system," Kapell says.
Commuters who spoke with News 12 had mixed opinions on the proposal.
"I know its going to be better to have the third track, but I don't think its better for the people that live in Floral Park or on the line in Garden City - so I'd say no," said one resident.
The public hearings will begin Tuesday.