Richard Tedesco’s recent article on the third track project published on Dec. 7, calls out the new $2 billion price tag of the project, but does not accurately reflect what that number means for Mineola.
The recently released draft Environmental Impact Statement details an extensive list of major new elements of the project designed to enhance the quality of life for Mineola and surrounding communities. These new elements include sound walls to eliminate visual blight and reduce noise and vibration to levels less than what exists currently, major station upgrades with lengthened and heated platforms and advanced technology, six new parking structures including one that is critically needed in Mineola. Not to mention the elimination of seven dangerous, loud, traffic-inducing and unattractive grade crossings. And not one single home or residential property will be acquired.
These tangible benefits will not only improve the quality of life for local residents and commuters today, but they represent a significant investment in those communities that will shape them for future generations of Long Islanders. By our estimation close to $1 billion—or nearly half of the currently proposed project cost—can be attributed to features designed to benefit corridor residents.
In addition to the newest elements of the project, the unprecedented outreach by Governor Cuomo’s team and the MTA has resulted in a massive effort to mitigate short-term construction impacts. The plan includes items such as satellite parking for workers to avoid unnecessary traffic on local roads, scheduling construction in a way that is sensitive to schools and local traffic, and a door-to-door outreach effort with a 24/7 hotline.
Finally, it must be recognized that this project represents Long Island’s fair share. New York is a big state, and Long Islanders pay some of the highest taxes. For the state to invest $2 billion in the project is a historic commitment to our communities, our commuters and our regional economy—and one that recognizes the critical importance of Long Island to the region as a whole.
The project will turn the Main Line Corridor into the 21st century flagship of the LIRR system. When completed, it will be the envy of Long Island. This can only result in improved property values and quality of life throughout the corridor.
—Dave Kapell, executive director, Right Track for Long Island