MTA: Smithtown resident to become new LIRR president

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MINEOLA -

The MTA announced Thursday that its Chief Operating Officer Phillip Eng will be taking over for Long Island Rail Road President Patrick Nowakoski, who announced his resignation on Wednesday night.

Nowakowski's resignation comes as officials across the state and frustrated commuters demand a permanent solution to the service disruptions plaguing the LIRR.

More at Newsday

This January was the railroad's worst month in 22 years, and 2017 was its worst year for on-time performance in nearly two decades.

Eng, a Smithtown resident, came to the MTA in March 2017 and previously worked for more than 30 years with the state Department of Transportation.

LIRR watchdogs say Eng has a big mountain to climb to improve service on the rails.

“Unless they change the culture of the LIRR, unless they put some real resources behind it, nothing is going to change,” says Peter Haynes, of the LIRR Commuters Campaign.

Haynes says he doesn’t know Eng well, but added that the new president needs to fast-track safety systems like Positive Train Control so trains can move faster and on time.

Eng will be the railroad's first minority president. He will take over as president Friday. His first official board meeting is expected to be on Monday, April 23.

News 12 asked a commuter if they have any advice for the new president.

“Yeah, get to work,” said Anthony Pisano, of Babylon.

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