Senator Johnson Announces Main Line Community Empowerment Act

Craig M. Johnson

March 07, 2008

Bill Would Require Local Community Support/ Public Hearings on Third Track

Senator Craig M. Johnson today announced the introduction of the Main Line Community Empowerment Act, a measure designed to give a voice to those affected most by the MTA/ LIRR's controversial Third Track Expansion project.

The legislation, (S.7037), would allow the construction of the Third Track only with the approval of two thirds of the town and village governments from the communities that the track will run through. Under this proposal, a vote would come only after the affected governments hold public hearings that will give residents a chance to gather information and voice their opinions on the project.

"It is unconscionable to ask these communities to host the Third Track and shoulder the negative affects that will come with this project without having any say in the process," Senator Johnson said. "This legislation will leave the MTA/ LIRR no choice but to to listen to the concerns and recommendations of the residents who live in the Main Line Corridor. I am urging the Republicans in this current Senate Majority to with join me in making sure that these residents' voices are heard."

Since taking office last year, Senator Johnson has worked tirelessly with Main Line residents to help get answers on Third Track. The MTA/ LIRR's lack of sunshine, shifting justifications for this project, and unwillingness to act on the communities' concerns has reinforced Senator Johnson's opposition to the Third Track in its current form and has led him to introduce this legislative remedy.

"We have been saying all along that the local communities deserve the right to determine our own future when it comes to Third Track," said New Hyde Park Village Mayor Dan Petruccio. "Senator Johnson's legislation gives us the firepower we need to fight this project and protect our quality of life."

Under this bill, the Village Boards of Trustees in Bellerose, Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Garden City, Mineola and Westbury, which represent the incorporated communities, and the Town Boards in Hempstead, North Hempstead, and Oyster Bay, which represent the unincorporated areas, would have to vote on the project.