The Long Island Rail Road is hosting six public hearings this week to receive local feedback on the proposal to build a third set of train tracks between Floral Park and Hicksville. The estimated $1-billion plan to lay nearly 10 miles of new rails would ease congestion on the busy Main Line during the rush hour commute, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Some residents who live near the tracks have expressed concerns—although New York State officials dropped previous controversial plans to condemn homes near the tracks.
The third track would run along a 9.8-mile stretch between Floral Park and Hicksville that serves 107,000 riders on an average weekday. During peak times, the LIRR is forced to run trains in only one direction, which becomes a huge bottleneck whenever equipment breaks down or some other unforeseen delay arises. This main line expansion is intended to relieve that decades-old bottleneck. But almost as soon as the governor announced it, community opposition—especially within Floral Park—was galvanized.
The railroad's current two-rail system "prevents the transit-oriented economic and community development that the Coalition believes is essential if Long Island is to be competitive in a 21st-century economy and attractive to the young people we want to live and work here." Begun in 1844, the original premise of the railroad was to create a connection between New York City and Boston, and today is running on the same two tracks built when Long Island’s population was only 50,000.
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