Three Long Island State senators today sent a letter to the New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Astrid C. Glynn demanding that the Long Island Truck Rail Inter Modal Facility (LITRIM) project be withdrawn from the Long Island Region’s capital plan.
Citing existing traffic problems in the area caused by local construction projects and poor regional planning at the local level, the State Senators urged Commissioner Glynn to cease further advancement of the project at the Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center in Brentwood and a complete withdrawal of the location for this project.
In a joint letter, Senators John J. Flanagan (2nd District), Owen H. Johnson (4th District) and Caesar Trunzo (3rd District) stated, "The recent approval of three major construction projects by county and town officials has so overburdened this area with traffic congestion that the State should not be complicit in further exacerbating this congestion problem with yet another project."
The letter from the three elected officials goes on to say that instead the State should be setting an example in this instance by refraining from any further development in an area where local traffic problems have caused much consternation for community residents.
"When local governments approve three major construction projects within a small distance from each other, without any real coordinated planning, the obvious result is going to produce significant traffic congestion on local roadways," stated Senator Flanagan. "The State can be the responsible one by saying enough is enough and refraining from aggravating an already unacceptable situation."
"The original concepts for the intermodal facility envisioned a dedicated truck road into and out of the site to reduce the impact on our local roadways and the surrounding communities," said Senator Trunzo. "Unfortunately, it is clear that a dedicated access road is simply not possible. The lack of dedicated access, along with the recent approvals by local governments for major developments in the surrounding area, make the former Pilgrim State property unusable for an intermodal facility. Reducing truck traffic on our overburdened highways is still an important priority. I will continue to work with my colleagues on freight transportation alternatives, and I look forward to the results of the Sagtikos Corridor study."
The letter also indicated that Senator Johnson will be introducing legislation to transfer the acreage set aside for the LITRIM project into the Edgewood Oak Brush Plain State Preserve.
"As the creator of the Edgewood Oak Brush Plain State Preserve in 1987, I am pleased to know that the acreage set aside for the LITRIM project can now be added to the Preserve. The transport of freight on and off of Long Island by rail, in order to reduce the amount of large tractor trailers that are choking our highways, is critically important and I encourage the NYSDOT to explore other possible sites on Long Island to construct such a facility," said Senator Johnson.
Area residents and the general public should also know that the public comment period for this project has been extended until September 24, 2007. According to the NYSDOT, all comments regardless of their submission dates will be reviewed. All comments will be addressed and incorporated in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). A draft version of the Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is currently available on-line at www.longislandintermodal.com.
Residents can mail their comments on the project to:
The LITRIM Project Team
NYS Department of Transportation
Region 10 Long Island
250 Veterans Memorial Highway
Hauppauge, New York 11788
Project Identification Number: 0339.12 and 0339.13
Comments can also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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