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Feb 3, 2010 10:59 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Thiele wants to gauge public interest on a proposed Peconic Bay Transportation Authority

Feb 3, 2010 10:59 AM

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced Monday that he will introduce legislation this week in Albany that would bring the idea of a Peconic Bay Transportation Authority to a public referendum sometime in the future.

But even if the bill becomes law and a public vote is held in November, the measure would be non-binding, meaning that it is intended only to gauge public support of the idea, according to Rebecca Molinaro, an aide to Mr. Thiele.

Mr. Thiele’s announcement came a week after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority disclosed that it is prepared to cut almost all train service to the North Fork, and one peak train that runs from Queens to Montauk, starting in September to help cut the agency’s $400 million budget gap. The cuts to the Greenport line are expected to save the MTA about $991,000 a year, while the elimination of the one Montauk train would save it another $396,000 a year.

All of the cuts proposed by the MTA, which includes a reduction of services in other parts of Long Island, would save it approximately $6.3 million in 2010 and $11 million in 2011. The Greenport line, however, is the only branch that would be eliminated under the proposal.

The bill that Mr. Thiele said he plans to introduce would authorize the five East End towns to put a question on the ballot during the next general election asking if voters support the formation of a Peconic Bay Transportation Authority to replace the MTA on the East End, according to Ms. Molinaro.

On Tuesday, February 2, Mr. Thiele had not yet introduced the bill, but planned to do so by Friday, Ms. Molinaro said. She explained that it is unclear when the State Assembly would vote on the bill, because it will likely pass through a series of committees before it reaches the chamber floor.

In a prepared statement issued on Monday, Mr. Thiele said: “By adopting legislation for an advisory public referendum, we would provide the forum for a full public discussion of public transportation on the East End of Long Island.”

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Sounds OK but where would the funds come from to run a new agency? How can you vote for something with no specicfics? Figure out the details Fred before wasting taxpayer money on a useless resolution.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Feb 3, 10 5:45 PM

As I understand it, Mr. Thiele is simply sponsoring a bill which will let us all vote in November on the issue of whether a Peconic Bay TA should be considered.

I am sure that the details about which you are genuinely concerned will be forthcoming in the many months between now and November.

Mr. Thiele's bill will allow us all to consider and focus on this most important issue in November.

Are you suggesting that we should NOT get to vote on this most ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Feb 3, 10 7:26 PM
And you think life will be better if we have a Peconic Bay Transportation Authority?

By Terry (380), Southampton on Feb 3, 10 7:37 PM
Fred has given no funding specifics and until he does how can anyone seriously vote on anything? Why not have a public discussion NOW without having wait for the bill to be reviewed by the state legislature's useless Shelly Silver committees. Political grandstanding at its' worse.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Feb 3, 10 11:00 PM
Couldn't agree more. Fred goes to the top of the self grandizing line for this one.
By Terry (380), Southampton on Feb 4, 10 8:14 AM
Nellie/Terry -- Your questions are valid, but please leave out the excessive cynicism. For quite some time, Thiele, LaValle, Alessi, and Romaine have been trying constructively to address the issue of public transit on the East End. This is another step forward in that process.
By jpr (2), Southold on Feb 4, 10 10:33 AM
I contend thsat is is NOT a step in the right direction. What purpose does this action propose to do?

What is the reality of that occurring?
"But even if the bill becomes law and a public vote is held in November, the measure would be non-binding, meaning that it is intended only to gauge public support of the idea,"

It would be a lot less expensive amd more telling if a poll was done.

My criticism is directed at Mr Thiele, please don't bunch him in with the others, ...more
By Terry (380), Southampton on Feb 4, 10 10:54 AM
Assemblyman Alessi, who is he??? Where is his name in the article??...By the way, where was he when Jamesport needed crosswalks to protect shoppers crossing Main Road or in the battle against the JuleBet development?...He ran for the hills!
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Feb 4, 10 8:07 PM
The costs could actually be less than previously thought according to the Volpe Center study. A lot of time and effort has gone into this proposal. See this article and other links at the top of the page.


If you add up all the money given to the MTA through the years via our property taxes, plus the recent MTA wage tax, The East End has not received value from the MTA nearly equal to the money paid to it.

See ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Feb 4, 10 11:22 AM
For those of you who are critical of Fred Theile's bill and are worried about imagined costs of a Peconic Bay Transit Authority, I must ask just one question. Are you happy paying tens of millions of dollars each year in east end derived fees, taxes and surcharges to fund MTA services in other parts of the state? If you are, I am sure many NYC and other distant beneficiaries would be happy to extend their sincere thanks to you and all the residents of our donor region. I prefer giving to charity!
By Vince Taldone (8), Riverhead on Feb 4, 10 12:28 PM
No Vince, I am not happy with the issues you mention. But I;d like a realistic solution, not chest beating.

Do you think that ANY bill introduced by a minor party assemblyman has a snowballs chance in hell to even get out of committee?

Just saying.
By Terry (380), Southampton on Feb 4, 10 1:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Ok, so we do the whole public referendum thing, and spend many taxpayer dollars. And, after a few more years, we have a PBTA. Then what? The MTA owns the rights of way where the LIRR tracks are located. How does Mr. Theile intend to get hold of the tracks necessary to run any trains of the PBTA?
By CommonSense (71), Southampton on Feb 4, 10 4:39 PM
Mr. Theile is in the news because he now recognizes his convenient shift of political parties when Obama was elected is backfiring BIG TIME!

He is now pushing the "independent" button while whisper talk is that his chances of getting re-elected are so remote Albany is just ignoring him.

Maybe he'll switch back to the Republican party before November as it becomes clear he needs to look for different employment. We really need to elect sincere principled politicians next time around ...more
By mexicokid (21), brooklyn on Feb 4, 10 5:31 PM
Why doesn't he just shoot for the stars...Peconic County too? Will someone hit these politicians with a good dose of reality!
By BeachGal (72), Hampton Bays on Feb 5, 10 12:34 AM
We had a referendum on Peconic County and it passed with over 70% of the vote. This accomplished NOTHING !
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Feb 5, 10 6:35 AM

That old referendum on Peconic County accomplished "NOTHING?"

Correction -- it planted the seed of a dream.

Sometimes an "idea whose time has come" needs time to grow in the womb, thence to blossom.

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Feb 5, 10 1:42 PM
I dispise the MTA tax that I have to pay and yet watch them squander more money away. The MTA needs to be torn apart and rebuilt like a corporate raider does to broken companies. The East End needs a better voice on the money we kick up to Albany but do not get back in return. Peconic County should roll again. If Sagaponack and Westhampton DUnes can part off so should we!
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Feb 5, 10 6:42 AM
Obvioulsy the MTA has given the East End the short shaft and in particular with htis latest move of cutting off the line from Ronkonkoma to Greeport except for 20-30 days per year.
But iif the MTA cannot break even on the service what's to make us think a PBTA would? Perhaps even at a loss (add'l tax sunsidy by us) it might be worthwile and supported by the east end becuase of the value to us?
But Terry is right, unless there is some requirement to get the process rolling, that we have a ...more
By DJII13 (155), Hampton Bays on Feb 5, 10 9:42 AM
Maybe it is time to tear up the tracks and build a bypass once and for all.
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Feb 5, 10 9:59 AM

Or widen the track bed to two tracks, one in each direction, with hourly trams to stop at lots of cross-roads?

When China's growth brings the price of oil to skyrocketing levels, we might look back and wish we had looked down the track a little further?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Feb 5, 10 1:46 PM
PBR, Drill baby drill. If we keep waiting we will all be dead before they start.
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Feb 5, 10 8:54 PM
Calverton rail spur announced today. See recent Thiele article.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Feb 11, 10 7:17 PM