As reported by Hearld Courier on January 7, 2016

New Hyde Park trustees denounce LIRR third track plans

By Neglah Sharma

New Hyde Park Mayor Robert Lofaro slammed plans for a third Long Island Rail Road track during Tuesday’s Village Board meeting.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the proposed plan, estimated to cost between $1 billion and 1.5 billion, Tuesday morning at a Long Island Association breakfast.

Despite strong opposition from towns along the 9.8-mile stretch of the railroad’s Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville, Cuomo and the MTA said to be a renewed effort to improve train traffic and boost Long Island’s economy.

“All of the mayors of all the villages along the Main Line have collectively said that they are not in favor of the third track, for the reasons stated back in 2007,” Lofaro said.

MTA officials said adding a third track along a the Main Line is needed due to the demand for reverse commute, as more people want to commute from Manhattan to Long Island.

New Hyde Park’s trustees said they are in staunch opposition to this proposal, as they believe it will adversely affect quality of life for village residents, particularly for those living on the south end of Jericho Turnpike.

Village residents are concerned about the impact of increased transport of LPG gas, fuel oil, gasoline, trash and even radioactive materials from Brookhaven National Lab in Upton.

Lofaro agreed, saying the village wants “concrete evidence” that the third track will not increase traffic of gas and other possibly hazardous material through New Hyde Park.

He also said he wants evidence of the demand for reverse commuting, and that the MTA should find an alternate route or increase the amount of double-decker trains in lieu of a third track.

“We will fight the governor vehemently on this,” Lofaro said. “It’s not a Democratic-Republican issue; it’s what’s best for the residents of the village of New Hyde Park. It’s not what’s best for the regional needs because that could be disputed — and it will be disputed.”

The plans for a third track improves on a previous plan first proposed in 2005 and would minimally impact communities along the right of way on the Main Line, MTA officials said.

The governor’s proposal would require the acquisition of property from 20 residences between Floral Park and Hicksville in addition to 30 commercial properties — mostly in Mineola, the MTA said. The average residential acquisition would be five feet wide, the MTA said, with an option for a full buy-out.

No mention of additional stops in New Hyde Park have been made in the proposal,

Lofaro said. Lofaro said he is scheduled to meet with U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) on Jan. 13 at her office in Garden City to further discuss the LIRR expansion plan, and asked New Hyde Park residents to email their thoughts on the issue.