On a recent Friday, Senator Jack M. Martins took a tour of the East Side Access Project, where he saw first-hand the progress being made on the massive capital project that entails excavating and building tunnels that will bring the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) into Grand Central.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that it will be extending the validity period for one-way and round-trip Long Island Railroad tickets from two weeks to two months as well as the refund period for those tickets from one month to two months in an effort to improve customer service.
Back in February of 2011, I met Susan, a resident of New Hyde Park, who shared with me yet another of those Long Island Railroad stories that can drive sane people mad.
Just a few weeks before, Susan had decided to avoid the snow-covered roads and purchased two one-way tickets at the New Hyde Park railroad station. She didn’t use the return fare since she was able to get a ride home. When she tried to refund the ticket, she was shocked to learn MTA policy called for a $10 processing fee regardless of the ticket’s price. That was more than her $7.25 ticket. Imagine a refund fee more costly than the actual product itself!
Senator Jack M. Martins and Long Island Rail Road President Helena E. Williams were at the Hicksville LIRR station on Tuesday, July 31, reviewing plans for the improvement of the station that the railroad believes will significantly improve service and customer satisfaction for Long Island commuters.
Senator Martins and Ms. Williams both indicated how important the Hicksville LIRR station is to commuters as the busiest station in Nassau County where both the Huntington/Port Jefferson Branch and the Ronkonkoma Branch converge into the Main Line.
Senator Jack M. Martins joined with his colleagues in state government as well as Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano last week in applauding the State Supreme Court’s decision declaring the MTA Payroll Tax unconstitutional.
The tax, which was imposed in 2009 by the former Senate majority and former Governor, proved to hurt Long Island’s economy at a time when the region was reeling from a national recession by requiring every employer to pay .34 percent of their total payroll to help fund the MTA. The tax was imposed on all schools, businesses, municipalities, hospitals and not-for-profits in seven counties including Nassau and Suffolk within the MTA region. The court concluded that to impose a tax on certain regions in the state was unconstitutional.
Congratulations taxpayers. I have good news. The New York State Supreme Court ruled the MTA Payroll Tax that drained $1.4 billion from New York’s downstate economy is unconstitutional. Unfortunately, NYC-based interests are already working to overturn the ruling so I want to share some facts before waters are muddied.
A project to rebuild the Colonial Road Bridge in the Village of Thomaston is nearing reality thanks to the efforts of Senator Jack M. Martins and Thomaston Village Mayor Robert Stern, who worked together with Long Island Railroad President Helena Williams in appropriately addressing community concerns over the project.
Upon taking office in 2011, Senator Martins, the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Local Government, facilitated discussions with Mayor Stern and the LIRR so that the bridge could be rebuilt without negatively impacting the residential community.
I am convinced that somewhere there exists a dingy, grey room, tucked away in the bowels of a huge Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) office building, hidden from any sunlight, deprived of any fresh air, pipes incessantly dripping and smelling of mold and mildew, with the words “Dept. of Bad Ideas” carefully stenciled onto its glass door. There, the excuse-ridden agency hatches the illogical follies that are to be foisted upon sensible taxpayers and hapless commuters. Among the classics that have sprung from the brain trust located there:
During the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation meeting regarding the nomination of Tom Prendergast as new head of the MTA, Senator Jack M. Martins expressed the concerns of many of the commuters who take the LIRR into the city for work. Among the Senator's points were the frequently at which fare increases are sought and that Penn Station remains at its current capacity to service LIRR riders. Senator Martins had addressed this concern in his column, "From the Desk of Senator Jack M. Martins," which can be read by CLICKING HERE.