An investigation by The Washington Post uncovered that about 33 members of Congress, including Rep. Steve Israel, D-Dix Hills, helped direct millions of dollars in earmarks to public projects that had the potential to enhance the communities of each of the lawmakers mentioned in the investigation.
The research showed that in 2008, Israel earmarked $490,000 to study Commack Road, bordering Dix Hills, with the goal of easing traffic along busy bypass. The Post points out that the Congressman's home (in red on the map) is within two miles of the roadway. According to the Post, the project has stalled and the money is yet to be spent.
The study is regarding a freight-rail-truck Intermodal facility proposed by the New York State Department of Transportation. The project is intended to decrease regional truck traffic by encouraging use of freight rail for shipping and reducing the use of large tractor-trailers to deliver merchandise across Long Island. However, critics project the facility to draw hundreds of trucks per day to the area.
Israel’s office said the the study has been held up due to jurisdiction conflicts on the local level.
An Israel spokeswoman said that the congressman secured the resources for the study but the county is responsible for implementing it.
"...The traffic on Commack Road is already terrible and with the introduction of the intermodal, it’s going to get even worse. Something has to be done to alleviate the congestion. All levels of government (local, state, federal) have been involved in this issue. It’s clearly a priority to thousands of Long Islanders," she said.
*This article has been updated as of Feb. 9.