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    Phillips, Senate Republicans Introduce Bill To Withhold Millions In State Funding From Amtrak


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    #1 Via Garibaldi 8

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    Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:33 PM

    Phillips, Senate Republicans Introduce Bill To Withhold Millions In State Funding From Amtrak Until Penn Station Commuters Get Relief

     

    ELAINE PHILLIPS

     

    May 18, 2017

     

     

    Senator Elaine Phillips (R-C, Manhasset) and Long Island’s entire Senate Republican delegation today announced the introduction of a new bill to help compensate commuters and hold Amtrak responsible for costly and frustrating Penn Station delays. The measure (S6421) would withhold New York State’s payments to Amtrak, operator of Penn Station, and return the savings to commuters as they continue to experience repeated travel problems that jeopardize jobs and paralyze the region’s economy. 

    Senator Phillips, lead sponsor of the bill and a former LIRR commuter for over 20 years, said, “What LIRR commuters are dealing with at Penn Station is a total disgrace. Poor maintenance and crumbling infrastructure at Penn Station are causing massive delays, cancelations and service disruptions that make commuting a living hell for Long Islanders. Amtrak’s failures are preventing LIRR riders from getting the service they paid for; if service is decreasing, fares should too. This legislation would help Long Island commuters get a much needed fare reduction.”   

    Lengthy unannounced delays, service disruptions, and dangerous track conditions have been ongoing for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and other trains that use Penn Station. Recently, Amtrak forecasted additional reductions in LIRR service – potentially 25 percent – to complete overdue repairs of four tracks and other infrastructure this summer, which will likely lead to more unacceptable issues for New York commuters. 

    A state report released this year estimated that 7.5 million LIRR riders were delayed or had rides canceled or terminated before reaching their destination in 2016, resulting in more than $60 million in lost productivity.

    The bill authorizes the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to discontinue all payments to Amtrak as a way of compensating commuters affected by unscheduled delays and cancellations that result from Amtrak’s inadequate maintenance. The payments could be withheld until December 31, 2017, unless service for trains arriving and departing at Penn Station is restored to 95-percent on-time performance for at least one month. The monies withheld by MTA would be directed back to commuters in the form of savings on fares.

    Joining Phillips to cosponsor the bill are Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan; Senators Carl Marcellino (R, Syosset); Kemp Hannon (R, Nassau); Thomas Croci (R, Sayville); Kenneth LaValle (R-C-I, Port Jefferson); and Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Bay Shore).

    Senator Flanagan said, “Our region’s commuters are rightfully fed up with Amtrak for the repeated train disruptions and lack of information that puts people’s jobs and our economy at risk. I applaud Senator Phillips for taking action to get results that will either urge Amtrak to fix the chronic delays and maintenance issues once and for all, or compensate the passengers for Penn Station’s ongoing problems.”

    Senator Marcellino said, “LIRR riders pay a premium price for their train service.  They should, at the very least, be able to count on the trains running on time. Mechanical problems, cancelations and delays have become the only sure thing when you arrive at the station.  This legislation puts the needs of the ridership first and will help restore a level of accountability.”

    Senator Hannon said, “Long Island Rail Road commuters have long suffered through delays, cancellations and other disruptions, and the problems have only been exacerbated in the past several months. With the planned closures at Penn Station during Amtrak’s extensive rehabilitation project, which will further significantly impact service for LIRR riders, I join my Senate colleagues in discontinuing any and all payments to Amtrak in order to fully compensate LIRR commuters who’ve experienced unscheduled delays and cancellations caused by 'inadequate maintenance' of Penn Station and its tunnels. That would include commuters impacted from March 24 through Dec. 31 of this year. The maintenance is long overdue, and these delays are totally unacceptable.”

    Senator Croci said, “For the Long Island Railroad commuter it has been long, tiresome, and beyond frustrating. Delays and disruption are stealing time away from work and family.  LIRR and Amtrak service problems must be remedied. This legislation will ensure hardworking commuters and riders - the riding public will be the priority.”

    Senator Boyle said, “Our LIRR commuters deserve reliable transportation. With the enormous amount of delays and headaches customers are experiencing, this bill will provide some relief for impacted riders.”

    In April, New Jersey Transit also announced it would stop paying Amtrak until an independent examination verifies that the tracks, signals, and other equipment are in a state of good repair. Combined, New York and New Jersey pay approximately $150 million a year for the use of Penn Station. Currently New York pays Amtrak millions for lease payments and other improvements at Penn Station. In addition, the MTA’s 2015-2019 Capital Program includes over $240 million for projects to improve the passenger flow and customer experience at Penn Station.  

     

    Source: https://www.nysenate...thhold-millions


    Edited by Via Garibaldi 8, 18 May 2017 - 01:34 PM.

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    #2 mfs NJT459

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    Posted 18 May 2017 - 02:53 PM

    Lol NJ is already doing that by the governor asking the state AG to withhold funds


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    #3 Via Garibaldi 8

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    Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:01 PM

    Lol NJ is already doing that by the governor asking the state AG to withhold funds

    I wish they were more specific about how commuters would supposedly "save". Will they be partially refunded? Not clear as of yet. In any event, they should be.


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    #4 NY1635

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    Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:21 PM

    I don't see how withholding state funding from Amtrak until they appease Long Islanders will result in improvements at Penn Station.


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    #5 IAlam

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    Posted 18 May 2017 - 04:11 PM

    This is pretty much stupid.

    "Let's make an already broke Amtrak fix their infrastructure, by cutting them from much needed funding. That'll fix  the problem."


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    #6 Around the Horn

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    Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:22 PM

    Yes, lets shoot ourselves in the foot! f**king idiots...


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    #7 Via Garibaldi 8

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    Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:37 PM

    It actually makes perfect sense. NJT and the LIRR are tenants. Since Amtrak isn't providing the services they're supposed to, they're withholding the monies due to them until they get things back in a state of repair. Some of you may think that the Amtrak needs those funds to make the repairs, but that's a separate issue, and not LIRR's or NJT's problem since they are giving Amtrak monies precisely to deal with things like maintenance. This is the same thing that tenants do when landlords don't make repairs and I'm sure there are contractual obligations that Amtrak currently isn't meeting.

    In short, the LIRR and NJT aren't receiving what they're supposed to and they're telling Amtrak either you start delivering or we're going to take action. These politicians have the power to force Amtrak to perhaps even let someone else take over Penn Station and run it. Someone with deeper pockets... Either way they can't keep taking the money and not delivering what was agreed to.
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    #8 Mtatransit

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    Posted 18 May 2017 - 07:07 PM

    In else where in the country, if the track is bad, the freight Railroad simply say "sorry no trains today". Should Amtrak just do that? Long Islanders and NJ are lucky that Amtrak try to run as many of THEIR trains as possible during the shutdown (including diverting some trains to GCT.
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    #9 Around the Horn

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    Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:02 PM

     Some of you may think that the Amtrak needs those funds to make the repairs, but that's a separate issue, and not LIRR's or NJT's problem since they are giving Amtrak monies precisely to deal with things like maintenance. This is the same thing that tenants do when landlords don't make repairs and I'm sure there are contractual obligations that Amtrak currently isn't meeting.

    In short, the LIRR and NJT aren't receiving what they're supposed to and they're telling Amtrak either you start delivering or we're going to take action. These politicians have the power to force Amtrak to perhaps even let someone else take over Penn Station and run it. Someone with deeper pockets... Either way they can't keep taking the money and not delivering what was agreed to.

     

    Amtrak just announced the schedule for summer repair work last week. Taking away your payments just means Amtrak can't do the repairs you want done.


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    "We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in oppression and denial of my right to exist." James Baldwin

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    #10 RR503

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    Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:35 PM

    Welcome to political staging class. Please remove all your logical facilities and start shamelessly grandstanding. 

     

    Seriously guys, these people should either be footing the bill for faster work or berating their counterparts in Washington for running up a $38 BILLION deficit in NEC infrastructure spending. Hypocrites....


    Edited by RR503, 18 May 2017 - 08:35 PM.

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