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LIRR Third Track Project


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It seems that the project is getting even more controversial, for whatever reason



A high-stakes game of chicken played out at midnight Friday on the proposed third track of the Long Island Rail Road.

Faced with a looming Republican veto that would scrap the $2 billion project, the MTA withdrew its proposal that was more than a year in the making and then immediately resubmitted it, buying the project another 30 days of review.

The state’s little-known Capital Program Review Board, comprised of representatives of both chambers of the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, had until midnight Friday to tacitly OK the spending plan or to issue a veto that would effectively kill the project. The MTA’s board had already approved the proposal, which was an amendment to its five-year capital spending plan.

But Friday afternoon, LIBN reported that state Sen. Martin Goldin, R-Brooklyn, who casts the Republican vote on the panel for Sen. Majority Leader John Flanagan, R- East Northport, had threatened to veto the plan.

The reasons for the last-minute objections were not made public, despite a growing consensus that the third track project was essential to Long Island’s economic future. Mayors of several communities along the main line said their earlier reservations about the project had been addressed and were now on board, according to published reports.

However, the ongoing chaos in New York’s subway system may have played a role. Following a derailment of a train beneath Harlem on Tuesday, Cuomo declared a state of emergency in the MTA, promising $1 billion to address the multiple infrastructure failures that have plagued the system for months. It was not immediately clear where that money was coming from.

RELATED: LIRR third-track plan in jeopardy of Flanagan veto

In parliamentary terms, the MTA has bought itself another 30 days to address lingering Republican concerns. During that period, any member of the spending tribunal could veto the plan, which would force the MTA’s board to vote again on the expansion proposal, according to a report published in Newsday.

Flanagan issued a statement late Friday acknowledging his objections:

“Given the derailments and service disruptions that have jeopardized rider safety and paralyzed the region’s mobility, the withdrawal of this proposed amendment will provide the MTA…with the opportunity to develop a comprehensive solution to the ongoing commuter crisis,” Flanagan said.

In a statement, Kevin Law, CEO of the Long Island Association, a major proponent of the third-track, said he expects that Senate Republicans “will ultimately do the right thing for Long Island and allow the third track to move forward.”

Flanagan’s comments offered hope that the project was not dead.  “I look forward to reviewing the MTA’s forthcoming plan and working together to return our region’s mass transportation system to a state of good repair,” he said in the statement, issued less than two hours before the midnight deadline. “Long Island Rail Road commuters and their families deserve nothing less.”

The third track proposal dates to January, 2016, when Cuomo and LIRR officials determined increased capacity was needed along a nearly 10 mile corridor of the main line stretching from New Hyde Park to Hicksville. That section of two tracks routinely creates rush-hour bottlenecks and delays that could be alleviated by an additional track, proponents say.

The plan also calls for upgrades to several stations, new parking garages, sound barriers and the elimination of numerous grade-crossings.

Link to article: http://libn.com/2017/07/01/mta-pulls-third-track-plan-over-republican-veto-threat/


This is getting rediculous.

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We as a country cannot move forward because of intransigent politics. Quite sad.

Even the mayor's of some villages along the protect who were formerly against it are now for it. To pass up a multi-billion dollar investment in long island infrastructure is beyond me.



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Even the mayor's of some villages along the protect who were formerly against it are now for it. To pass up a multi-billion dollar investment in long island infrastructure is beyond me.



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It’s alright. Less jobs for them, more for us. The MTA should just cede operation of the railroad to some NICE-like entity and let them be responsible for their own public transit.

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It’s alright. Less jobs for them, more for us. The MTA should just cede operation of the railroad to some NICE-like entity and let them be responsible for their own public transit.

Lol, the issue for me is, I live in Mineola, and have to deal with NICE. I need this third track. I can't imagine what could happen if the LIRR became privatized...



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Eh. They pulled the amendment and resubmitted it. That gives them 30 days. I'm with those who think that Cuomo threatens to pull the IDC (cringe) and give senate control to the democrats and Flannery et al cave. 

Edited by RR503
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Long Island shoots itself in the foot, again, what a surprise.



To me from the way the article was written, Cuomo did this to himself by declaring a state of emergency for the MTA an promising $1 Billion dollars without explaining where such money would be coming from. To me it sounded like had it been announced where the $1 Billion was coming from there wouldn't have been a need for a Possible Veto. Though again that's just my take.

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The project is on.


LIRR third-track plan gets green light; $1.95B plan OKd


July 11, 2017 10:15 PM
By Yancey Roy  yancey.roy@newsday.com 
 Reprints  + -
image.jpg Looking west from the LIRR station in Floral Park April 12, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr. 



State Senate Republicans signed off Tuesday on public funding for a third track for the Long Island Rail Road, removing the last hurdle for the long-touted project.

With the Assembly and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo already on board, the decision gives the green light to a 9.8-mile track corridor from Floral Park to Hicksville. It also gives a political victory to the governor, who championed the track. 

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) announced the action while noting that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the LIRR, had agreed to upgrades, including renovated station stops and new parking garages in impacted communities, along with an updated signal system for Penn Station. 

Late Tuesday, he said the Senate’s representative to a politically obscure yet critical control board sent a formal letter approving the $1.95 billion third track project. 

Flanagan’s announcement came less than two weeks after the potential of a Senate veto — based on local residents’ concerns about construction, traffic and other issues — caused the MTA to temporarily withdraw the third track plan from consideration by the Capital Program Review Board. The Senate, Assembly and Cuomo all have representatives on the panel who can single-handedly block a funding proposal. 

But the same day the MTA withdrew the plan, two of the staunchest opponents of the third track — the villages of New Hyde Park and Floral Park — said they had come to an agreement with the MTA regarding quality-of-life concerns and now would support it. That appeared to clear the way for the Senate to acquiesce.


“I’m pleased that communities impacted by the proposed ‘third track’ will receive the safety and quality-of-life upgrades they have said were critical,” Flanagan said in a statement.

Cuomo applauded the Senate’s decision.

“After decades of delay, today we took action to fundamentally change the economy on Long Island and secure its future prosperity,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I am proud to partner with our local governments and the Legislature with a project that is going to change the game for the Long Island region and all its residents that will benefit from it for generations to come.”

Despite Flanagan’s backing, another Senate critic of the plan said she still has “serious concerns” about the impact of the project on nearby residents. Sen. Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) said the nearly $2 billion should be spent on more immediate transit needs.

“I strongly believe the MTA must strike an appropriate balance between fixing the problems responsible for the derailments, disruptions and delays that LIRR commuters have experienced and making the strategic investments necessary to facilitate the region’s continued growth,” Phillips, who voiced reservations about the proposal while campaigning last year, said in a statement. “Given the urgency of returning the system to a state of good repair, I believe that should be the immediate priority.”

Scores of Floral Park and New Hyde Park residents had spoken against the project — which could last several years and impact traffic among other things — at public hearings. The LIRR promised to minimize the potential impacts by building retaining walls and sound barrier walls adjacent to the new track, monitoring noise and vibrations, and studying potential traffic improvements.

Supporters say the third track will be a major boon to the region, allowing the LIRR to run more trains in both directions, bounce back more quickly from service disruptions, create jobs, boost property values and keep more young people in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

MTA interim Executive Director Veronique Hakim said, “The MTA took extensive time to talk with local villages and officials and address concerns they may have, and that effort was successful. Today we conclude with a positive outcome. . . . This project will not only build the track, but it will also modernize the Long Island Rail Road with a new signal system, remove dangerous grade crossings literally saving lives, accommodate positive train control, and bring additional commuter parking.”

Republicans had faced pressure from business groups that favor the track.

1:03NassauLIRR: Hearings on third-track expansion project begin
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Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association, said, “Governor Cuomo and Majority Leader Flanagan should be commended for reaching an agreement to add a Third Track to the LIRR that was envisioned a half century ago and will now result in a $2 billion investment to the region, economic growth and a better experience for commuters while addressing the legitimate concerns of surrounding communities.”


The Floral Park and New Hyde Park mayors could not be reached Tuesday night. 


  • 2008: After years of planning, the LIRR abandons its third track plan amid local opposition.
  • January 2016: Cuomo resurrects the plan, promising to make it more acceptable for affected communities.
  • November 2016: LIRR issues 2,200-page draft environmental impact statement, sets a Jan. 31 deadline for public comment.
  • January 2017: First of six public hearings about the third-track expansion project held Jan. 17 in Westbury.
  • May 2017: The MTA amends its $30 billion, five-year capital program to include the $2 billion capital program and submits it to the state Capital Program Review Board for consideration.
  • June 2017: Facing a potential veto of the third track plan, the MTA withdraws and resubmits its proposed amendment, buying extra time for Cuomo to negotiate with Senate Republicans who have raised concerns about the project. 
  • July 2017: Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan pledges his support for the third track, clearing the way for its approval.

— Alfonso Castillo

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The report on the third track project did note that some buildings will be taken out as part of this project, which can understandably generate opposition. For those of you who were around back then, I would like to ask: when grade separation projects were done on the Babylon Branch and elsewhere on the Main Line/Port Jefferson Branch, were there buildings that were taken out because of these grade separations?

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Does anyone know if Nassau tower will be torn down for the project in Mineola? Idk where else the track would go.



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Where in Mineola is Nassau Tower?

Edited by NY1635
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Mineola's a tricky station, they're gonna have to re-work the hell out of that layout.

To my knowledge, the north side of the station (westbound side) will remain intact, and not move, although some new concrete would be great. For the south side (eastbound side) though, that's a whole different thing. The be track will be built close to where the station building is I think. Not sure completely though. It's a good excuse to finally get rid of the old red structure overpass though. That station is definitely not gonna be easy, you said it.



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  • 1 year later...


MTA and Emperor Cuomo held an official groundbreaking last week.


Project elements along the Main Line corridor include:

9.8 miles of a new third track;

7 grade crossing eliminations, including Covert Avenue, South 12th Street, New Hyde Park Road, Main Street, Willis Avenue, Urban Avenue and School Street;

7 bridge replacements and modifications, including South Tyson Avenue Bridge, Plainfield Avenue Bridge, Tanners Pond Road/Denton Avenue Bridge, Glen Cove Road Bridge, Meadowbrook Parkway Bridge, and Cherry Lane Bridge;

5 station improvements, including New Hyde Park Station, Merillon Avenue Station, Mineola Station, Carle Place Station, and Westbury Station; in addition to ADA-compliant elevators at Floral Park Station;

7 substation replacements, including Floral Park Substation, New Hyde Park Substation, Merillon Avenue Substation, Mineola Substation, Carle Place Substation, Westbury Substation, and New Cassel Substation;

7.5 miles of sound/retaining walls; and

Additional improvements throughout the project corridor.


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8 hours ago, P3F said:

I thought this has already been under construction for around a year now.

I believe the MTA has been doing bits of work here and there.

This was just an announcement to make Emperor Cuomo look good before the gubernatorial primary election this week. Nothing more.

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41 minutes ago, GojiMet86 said:

The MTA has been working on the double-tracking of the Ronkonkoma line, which is looking very good.

It should be done in the next few weeks, though the investment is moot until 3rd track allows reverse-peak trains to come from NY. 

FWIW, after the communities killed it in 2009ish, the LIRR's MO with 3rd track was to sneakily build sections of third track without anyone being the wiser. That's why all the new overpasses  in the area  have three tracks, for example. 

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