Senator John J. Flanagan (R,C-East Northport) and Senator Carl L. Marcellino (R - Syosset) were pleased to announce today that the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), as part of a reduction in their 5-year capital plan, has eliminated funding for the construction of a 16 track electric rail yard facility on the Huntington/Port Jefferson branch.
"I am pleased to learn that the LIRR has withdrawn funding for their ill-conceived plan to place a rail yard on the Huntington/Port Jefferson line," said Senator Flanagan. "The LIRR finally came to the realization that this was an inappropriate short-term solution that would leave our community with a long-term scar."
"I am thrilled that the LIRR has decided to stop their plan to put a rail yard in Huntington Station. This is a win-win decision for both residents and commuters alike. The LIRR now needs to look toward adopting an approach to rider projections that moves toward designing a rail system capable of sustaining Long Island well into the future instead of using a 1905 solution to a 2005 problem," said Senator Carl L. Marcellino
As part of the 2005-06 State Budget the New York State Legislature approved a $21.1 billion five-year capital plan which was $6.7 billion less than the MTA had requested. As a result, the $190.7 million plan to construct a 16-track electric rail yard in Huntington or Smithtown was shelved.
As part of the East Side Access Project, the LIRR was proposing a new rail yard site on the Huntington/Port Jefferson Branch to provide storage capacity for its electric train equipment where electric service ends and diesel service continues to the end of the line. Sites in Huntington being considered are land next to the Huntington State Armory and a parcel west of Bread and Cheese Hollow Road south of Pulaski Road. In Smithtown, potential locations are two sites in Kings Park near a sand mine; a parcel at the Kings Park Psychiatric Center; and land next to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center.
The Legislators said that they believe this project should be done as a whole not in piecemeal. "It is our belief that were the LIRR to choose to electrify the line to its terminus at Port Jefferson now, it would eliminate the need for the storage and maintenance yard and alleviate a major detriment to our communities and mutual constituents," said Flanagan.
Senator Marcellino, Chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee added, "The electrification of the line to Port Jefferson will pay dividends both in the short and long term. Electrification allows trains to run faster, smoother, quieter, with greater reliability and with less pollution than diesel trains."
The Legislators added that the extension of the electrified line to the east would ease traffic congestion and alleviate the overcrowded conditions that currently exist from Huntington westward. In addition, commuters won’t have to change trains and can avail themselves of one-seat service all the way to Grand Central or Jamaica stations lessening commute times.
"The appropriate solution is total electrification of the Port Jefferson line. I am confident that our devoted local, state, and federal representatives can work with the MTA/LIRR to achieve the appropriate long-term solution," Flanagan concluded.