MTA rolls out plan to improve LIRR performance

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NEW YORK -

The MTA released a performance improvement plan Monday that aims to cut down on cancellations, delays and disruptions on the Long Island Rail Road.

At Monday's meeting, LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski took the blame for the problems plaguing the system last month and laid out a nearly 60-point plan he says will fix it. But it comes with a hefty price tag -- he says it will likely cost $15 million to $20 million a year.

Nowakowski says the plan includes purchasing more snow removal equipment to clear the tracks, upgrading equipment such as utility poles, and displaying digital countdown clocks for arriving trains at the stations.

MTA board member Scott Rechler likes some of the ideas, but says getting riders to buy in is not going to be easy.

"We are at historically poor performance for the LIRR and if we can't communicate a well-thought-out, easy-to-understand plan to our customers, they are not going to believe we are doing anything," he says.

Riders who spoke to News 12 Long Island about the proposal were skeptical.

Longtime rider Tom Cannon says he doesn't think anything will change. "It would be nice if it did, but I doubt that it's going to," he says.

The LIRR is holding listening sessions to hear from riders. The first is scheduled for Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Penn Station.

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