From the Desk of Arnold Drucker: Include Nassau residents in MTA’s rail discount program

From the Desk of Arnold Drucker: Include Nassau residents in MTA’s rail discount program

For so many reasons, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board’s April 30 enactment of a discount program for New York City monthly rail tickets that excludes Nassau and Suffolk residents is extremely disappointing – especially amid the advent of congestion pricing and its fiscal impact upon Nassau County households.

As a lifelong resident of Plainview and the representative of the Nassau County Legislature’s 16th District for the last eight years, I am keenly aware of the extent that residents in my district rely upon Long Island Rail Road train service to commute to and from work in the five boroughs each and every day.

Moreover, as a policymaker, I am cognizant of the environmental benefits associated with increased mass transit use and the positive fiscal impact that greater ridership would generate for the MTA and our county.

Considering those clear benefits for our county and our greater region, Nassau and Suffolk’s exclusion from this incentive program makes little sense.

Furthermore, it strikes me as a missed opportunity to extend a gesture of goodwill to Long Islanders in an atmosphere rife with palpable frustration regarding the implementation of congestion pricing.

Imagine the frustration of a commuter residing minutes from the Queens border in Elmont upon their discovery that they will be paying more to ride the train to Manhattan than someone up the block in New York City simply because of an arbitrary line on a map dividing municipalities!

State lawmakers now have a responsibility to address this glaring omission. As stated in an April 30 news release announcing the five-boroughs incentive initiative, “the programs are funded by the Outer Borough Transportation Account, created in 2018 by the New York State Legislature to provide $50 million per year to improve transportation in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island in association with congestion pricing.”

The MTA must now work with state officials to identify resources that can be swiftly applied toward funding a comparable discount initiative for the benefit of Nassau and Suffolk County commuters.

A strong and comprehensive commitment to mass transit will yield tremendous benefits for our future, but out entire region must be included to maximize those opportunities. It now behooves New York State to act and correct the glaring and illogical inequities that currently exist.


Arnold W. Drucker, of Plainview, is the Nassau County Legislature’s Deputy Minority Leader. He has represented the Legislature’s 16th District since December 2016.

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