Readers Write: What about LIRR Port Washington branch capital improvements?

Readers Write: What about LIRR Port Washington branch capital improvements?

You can learn a great deal about the priorities of Gov. Kathy Hochul in her State of the State speech and release of her proposed 2024 budget when it comes to which transportation projects she supports.

Only months ago, she participated in the announcement of a $7.7 billion Federal Transit Administration Full Funding Grant Agreement ($3.4 billion federal/$4.3 billion local share) for Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway.

Now she wants to extend the Second Avenue subway west along 125th Street in Harlem for another $7 billion.

Hochul also wants funding to be provided for the start of design and engineering to support her pet $5.5 billon Brooklyn-to-Queens Light Rail Connector project.

Hochul continues to be a vocal advocate in support of the $16 billion Gateway Tunnel (two new tunnels connecting New Jersey and Penn Station benefiting Amtrak and NJ Transit) and her $8 billion Penn Station upgrade.

In the same time frame, MTA Chairman Janno Lieber published his agency’s proposed 2024 Program of Projects to apply for Federal Transit Administration funding.

It includes is a request for $2.2 billion toward paying for the $3.1 billion Metro North Bronx East Penn Station Access project with no Queens stop.  Hochul, along with U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have been consistent supporters for all of these projects.

There was nothing in Hochul’s State of the State speech, release of her proposed 2024 budget or Lieber’s FTA 2024 Program of Projects to include any funding for installation of a canopy over the Long Island Rail Road’s Little Neck Station pedestrian overpass, double tracking between the Great Neck and Port Washington stations, reopening the Elmhurst Queens station (promised since 2014) closed in1982 or construction of a new Sunnyside Yard Station (promised for decades) .

Due to the lack of action on the part of Hochul, Schumer, Gillibrand and Lieber, they appear to have no interest in providing any significant financial assistance to support advancement of these LIRR transportation improvements that would benefit  residents, taxpayers and commuters.

Supporters for any of these projects need to continue lobbying Hochul, Schumer, Gillibrand, Lieber and Acting LIRR President Robert Free if you want to see any of these projects advance.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously served as a former Director for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office of Operations and Program Management.

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  1. The Port Washington branch does not need additional stations in deep Queens. That would just increase the trip time for residents in Northeast Queens and Northwest Nassau trying to get into and out of Manhattan. How many trains today stop at Mets Willets Point where outside of baseball game days, nobody gets on or off? The same was true for those trains which used to skip Auburndale during the middays when hardly any traffic was present. Deep Queens has the subway for transportation which could take them to an existing LIRR station if needed. The LIRR should not be replacement for the subway. The traffic from Bayside station is already crowded enough.

    As for the canopy over the pedestrian overpass in Little Neck and the double tracking between Great Neck and Port Washington, those are good projects which are needed although with the latter which is greatly needed, there will likely be opposition by those who live around the tracks to modify the real estate which would be required for such an enhancement.

  2. Why should the Governor allocate funds to mass transit in the suburbs? She has been begging for help on housing and the suburbs have tanked every initiative. She should give the money to places that are willing to work with her on building. The suburbs with their NIMBY zoning laws don’t deserve it.


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