D - New York, called on his colleagues last week to pass the bi-partisan Senate version of a transportation bill that will give the MTA greater resources to prioritize the construction of a second track from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma. Part of the plan is to also add a bus route along Route 110 in Melville.
“A second track would radically reduce commuting times, facilitate the flow of workers into and out of Long Island, spur the growth of MacArthur airport and create a job creation corridor right down the center of the island. No more excuses and delays, the MTA needs to make it a top priority in their capital plan,” Schumer said.
The Senate Surface Transportation Reauthorization bill, which passed the Senate this past Thursday, and still needs to pass in the House, provides additional direct funding to New York State and would allow the MTA to apply for waivers for the federally ordered Positive Train Control (PTC) system project.
PTC is a technology to monitor train movement, allowing operators to receive information about location of other trains with GPS-based technology, to ensure safety. The project has a mandated 2015 deadline and will cost approximately $750 million.
The waivers will provide the MTA with the flexibility to finance the project differently and allow it to invest in other capital investments, like second track project.
Several legislators have asked the MTA to accelerate the proposed LIRR double track project in recent months, a plan they say will create jobs, help businesses and service commuters right in the Melville area.
"It’s also a critical component of the proposed project, which would help create additional jobs and economic development for Long Island," said New York State Sen. Charles Fuschillo, R- Merrick, who is chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee. "The MTA should do whatever it can to accelerate this project and make it a reality.
As part of a larger, joint plan between the towns of Babylon and Huntington, the transit hub would also include new residential and commercial developments near the new Republic Station as well as a bus rapid transit system across Route 110.
The main line between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, which spans 17.9 miles, currently has 5.3 miles of double track. According to the MTA, the Ronkonkoma line is one of the LIRR’s most crowded lines, with the highest number of customers per train on peak trains, reverse-peak trains and weekends.
Michael DeLuise, President of the Melville Chamber of Commerce, has been advocating the project to officials for the past year.
"We just can't afford to wait another five years," he said.
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