LIRR’s third track proposal gains new support

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NEW HYDE PARK -

The Long Island Rail Road's third track proposal in Nassau County received new support Friday from two mayors who previously opposed the idea.

Karen Heller says she's lived on Herkomer Street in New Hyde Park for 36 years, right down the block from the New Hyde Park LIRR station.

She says she's learned to tune out the sound of the trains over the years, but she's concerned that if the LIRR's planned third track proposal takes shape, she won't be able ignore the additional noise and lights.

"Unfortunately, I think my quality of life is going to change a lot," Heller says.

Quality of life, traffic congestion and property values are just some of the concerns she and other local residents have about the project.

"To be honest -- sorry for the pun -- the MTA doesn't have a great track record for getting projects done on time," says Mayor Larry Montreuil.

But this week, officials from several of the villages along the line, including New Hyde Park and Floral Park, say they have struck a deal with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the LIRR to ensure that they won't be cut out of the development process.

"The Long Island Rail Road has satisfied us that we will continue to have a voice at the table as to how this thing develops," Montreuil says.

Supporters of the project say it is a transformative infrastructure deal that will ensure the LIRR remains viable in the decades to come. And some neighbors like Cameron Blattner, who lives in the railroad's shadow, say they back the plan.

"I think the project is excellent, and I think it will help everyone if it is managed properly." he says.

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