- New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr
. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) announced that the Final 2012 State Budget will fund the last three years of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Capital
Plan, including $37.2 million expenditure in 2014 for the purchase of smaller, more reliable diesel
trains for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). In 2009, the MTA included the proposal in its capital plan but did not identify actual funding for the plan. The amendment to the capital plan to be approved by the State Legislature now funds the entire plan including the diesel proposal.
The new trains, known as "diesel multiple units," have smaller engines, are lighter, more cost effective, and will travel shorter distances. The proposed expenditure will permit the LIRR to purchase the new trains which come in sets of two cars. When ridership is heavier, another pair of cars can be attached.
According to the LIRR the new trains could "increase frequency of service, increase reliability, and promote intra-island commuting. The new diesels will be ideal to provide additional service in the non-electrified areas of the LIRR east of Ronkonkoma."
Thiele stated, "President Helena Williams and MTA Board member Mitch Pally are to be commended for refocusing the plans of the LIRR to include the needs of the under-served East End. With the approval of the shuttle trains and the partial repeal of the MTA payroll tax, we have taken steps to increase service while at the same time reducing the unfair financial burden of the payroll tax. The East End has clamored for increased service through the implementation of an integrated rail/bus shuttle service for the East End including the State-funded Volpe Study which demonstrated the viability of shuttle trains. The shuttle was also proven viable when the LIRR provided a successful pilot project during the reconstruction of CR 39. The next step is the purchase of new, lighter, cost-effective shuttle diesels. We are closer than ever to increasing public transportation opportunities for East End residents. Finally, this new service will mean jobs for the East End tourist and second home industry. Transportation alternatives that make it easier to get here and easier to move from hamlet to hamlet will foster the growth of our local economy."