Newsday publishes Senator Johnson's letter to the Editor on Third Track.

Craig M. Johnson

October 07, 2009

Third-track project keeps shifting on us

I am responding to a Sept. 20 editorial that presented an overly simplified explanation of my opposition to the MTA-LIRR third-track expansion project ["Watch your step, MTA"].

My opposition is not limited to eminent domain.

During the last few years, cost estimates increased from $1 billion to $1.5 billion. As the price tag keeps changing, so have the MTA's justifications for it. Initially the agency said this project, which would bisect many residential neighborhoods, would increase freight capacity. Now the MTA says it will complement East Side LIRR access.

One would expect the MTA and its allies to at least be consistent in justifying this project. Finally, I cannot ignore the effect on communities I represent. From Floral Park to Hicksville, residents are deeply concerned about the disruptions that will be caused by the construction and its effect on the suburban character of their neighborhoods.

Craig M. Johnson

Garden City Park

Editor's note: The writer represents the 7th District in the State Senate