Tunnel to Conn. Debated at Long Island Association Event

Laura, Steve, John
From left: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Republican of East Northport. Photo credit: Thomas Christian DeJosia

A recently revived idea to build a tunnel from North Shore to Connecticut was among the top issues up for discussion at the Long Island Association’s State of The Region event Friday.

New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) told the nearly 1,000 people in attendance at the event in Woodbury that he opposes a proposed Long Island Sound crossing. But LIA President Kevin Law said he favors it.

“I’d rather see our money go toward a bridge rather than a wall,” Law said, referring to President Donald Trump’s proposal to extend the wall on the US-Mexico border.

A state-sponsored feasibility study recently came out in favor of the estimated $55-billion Sound crossing idea, Newsday reported. Proposals of a bridge or tunnel to Connecticut or Westchester date back decades but have long faced fierce opposition.

“We have so many other things that we need to do,” Flanagan said of the idea, which he didn’t see as a priority. 

Also speaking at the LIA event were Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who took office two weeks ago.

Bellone said Long Island Rail Road improvement projects, transit-oriented community projects around the region, park enhancements and other projects are helping lure more young people back to LI, reversing the Brain Drain.

“Our ability to retrofit suburbia in a way that will create broad-based sustainable economic growth has never been stronger,” he said.

Curran said she’s seen enthusiasm from county workers despite $18-million in cuts being ordered by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state-appointed fiscal watchdog panel.

“I’m finding that the malaise that has settled over the county operations is beginning to lift,” she said. “A dialogue is beginning in each department about what we can do better. We need that buy in from our county employees, because it comes as no surprise, we’ve inherited a mess and it is going to take a lot of work to clean it up.”