The long-awaited progress report on the LIRR Third Track has been released. Governor Cuomo was eager to announce last week that Phase One of the mass expansion project was just completed. The project, which aims to reduce delays, improve service, increase ridership, and connect Long Islanders in new and more sustainable ways, is slated to be completed by 2018.
The project is being completed nearly ten times faster than previous projects of the same scope. This is due to new train rail-laying technologies, dedicated resources, and a thorough and well-thought MTA plan. Not only is this a plus for opening up access to new and speedy service sooner than anticipated, it also leaves the potential for about $2.4 million in savings. The next phase will incorporate the construction of the track from Farmingdale to Central Islip, increasing capacity and the service along the train lines, laying the remaining track to complete the expansion.
Despite initial controversy over the project, the new track also is not going to interrupt the regular flow of business or life for many residents due to changes from the first version of the plan. It now falls in the right of way of proper zoning and will not require any use of eminent domain.
With new and improved service, Long Islanders shorter waits and fewer delays, but they will also see their economy bolstered through job creation for the construction and operating phases of the track, new station staff, and connections throughout the island that once would require several hang-ups and delays in the process.