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Feb 3, 2010 8:43 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

MTA to hold public hearing in Riverhead over service cuts

Feb 3, 2010 8:43 AM

The Metropolitan Transit Authority announced this week that it will hold a public hearing in Riverhead on Monday, March 8, to hear comments about its proposed Long Island Rail Road service cuts throughout the region, including the almost total elimination of train service to the North Fork and the elimination of one peak train from the Montauk line.

The hearing will take place at 6 p.m. in the Suffolk County Legislature’s Riverhead auditorium, located at 300 County Center Drive, according to the MTA’s website.

On Monday, January 25, the agency announced a proposal that would terminate nearly all Long Island Rail Road service between Ronkonkoma and Greenport starting in September, as part of an effort to close a $400 million budget gap. If the plan is advanced, the MTA would continue to offer service to the North Fork only on weekends during the summer. Train service would otherwise be eliminated for all stations along the Greenport line, including those in Medford, Yaphank, Riverhead, Mattituck and Southold.

On the South Fork, the LIRR is proposing to cancel a 4:30 p.m. peak train that runs from Hunters Point Avenue in Queens, to Montauk, also effective in September. That train will be available again on Fridays during the summer months, according to the MTA proposal.

The public hearing in Riverhead was not originally planned as part of a round of forums regarding service cuts throughout the LIRR system, which came just eight months after Albany approved a payroll tax to help bolster the MTA. As of last week, the nearest public hearing was scheduled for Monday, March 1, in Carle Place, Nassau County.

But local politicians, including Suffolk County Legislators Edward P. Romaine and Jay Schneiderman, Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer William J. Lindsay and New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., called on the MTA last week to hold a public hearing on the East End.

“Telling these riders that they have to travel 76 miles each way to speak at a public hearing in Carle Place is the latest slap in a long list of slaps in the face that this agency has perpetrated against Suffolk County residents,” Mr. Lindsay said in a prepared statement issued on Tuesday, January 26.

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It's ironic and shameful that many billions of dollars are being spent on the development of unwanted so-called high speed rail projects, when ordinary rail service to real people is being cut. What's wrong with this picture? Why isn't our Congressman screaming about this to Mrs. Pelosi? Oh, I forgot, their conversations are all in one direction - she tells him what's what and he votes for it. shouldirun.com
By RichardBlumenthal (24), Westhampton Beach on Jan 30, 10 8:23 AM
good cut service and cut that tax out of my paycheck
By asurest (117), easthampton on Jan 31, 10 8:58 AM
I have to agree with Mr. Blumenthal regarding the apparently lopsided approach to public transit needs. Those of us that don't want to pay any taxes in exchange for no services could move to Wyoming, I suppose? The rest of us that live in the real world, and rely upon an infrastructure, are happy to pay for what we get. It's also important to remember that it's not all about our own individual needs in America. When it comes time for social security, and the nursing home our families can't afford, ...more
By Old School (22), Southampton on Jan 31, 10 8:09 PM
Pay higher MTA fares = poor /no service. Pay more MTA tolls = poor bridge and tunnel maintenance. Now the payroll tax. It is time to look at breaking up this 1970's mega-agency and making our elected officials DIRECTLY responsible for funding regional transportation. The MTA doesn't work. When it was started in the early 1970's the new 2nd Avenue subway was promised for NYC. Don't hold your breath, it still isn't completed 40 years later.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jan 31, 10 10:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Don't forget the recently imposed Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Tax levied on employers - for profit and not for profit -- as an added payroll tax to recoup the massive loss incurred by the MTA. To begin with, it is an outrage that East End employers are burdened with higher payroll taxes to pay for a commuter transportation system so inefficient to begin with that few if any employees are able to take advantage of and it is even more outrageous now that train service will all but disappear! ...more
By usuallyquietonquiogue (10), Westhampton Beach on Feb 1, 10 1:14 PM
1 member liked this comment