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Senators Announce $138 Million To Advance New Republic Train Station

LIRR second track project ahead of schedule

Despite a passing rain shower, Blue Angels’ practice flights and commercial air traffic overhead, Senate transportation committee chairman, Senator Charles Fuschillo, Jr. was joined on Friday, May 24 at Conklin Street and Fairchild Loop in Farmingdale by Senator Owen Johnson, Senator Lee Zeldin, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) President Helena Williams and many other local officials and union representatives to announce that work is about to begin on the LIRR’s second track project and redevelopment of the Republic train station.

Fuschillo said confidently, “Bringing jobs to Long Island will get our economy back,” creating more than 300 direct jobs and more than 1,000 indirect jobs in the region. He said the expansion and redevelopment would also promote economic development.

The LIRR second track project is two years ahead of schedule and is slated to begin in July, in part due to a $138 million increase in funding for the MTA’s 2010-14 Capital Program.

“This is a home run for Long Island’s economy,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Without question, I think this is the single best investment that we can make in terms of our infrastructure.”

Fuschillo explained that the second track project would improve service reliability and performance along the LIRR’s Ronkonkoma branch, “one of its most heavily utilized branches.” The branch has stops from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma, including Wyandanch, Deer Park, Brentwood, and Central Islip.

“This is an important return on our investment,” said Zeldin. The project is also necessary to enable the future rebuilding and reopening of the Republic train station, a vital component of the proposed Republic/Route 110 Corridor Project. The Republic train station has been closed since 1987.   

Senator Fuschillo has been working on the Republic/Route 110 Corridor Project with former Babylon Supervisor, and now Suffolk County Executive, Steve Bellone, current Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer, and Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone.

“We’ve got to bring that back into a new transit-oriented development,” said LIRR President Helena Williams, as she pointed behind the press conference gathering to a blighted, rundown warehouse with busted out windows and overgrown vegetation that sits adjacent to the rear of Airport Plaza Shopping Center along Conklin Street. She foresees the potential for housing, retail and transit development there.

Williams gave some brief details about the timeline for what she explained are many smaller projects of the whole.

Environmental studies and surveying are underway along the track expansion and train station redevelopment. Designing and pre-construction begins in July 2012. Much of the construction and development from Ronkonkoma to Central Islip will be completed by September 2012, and the final phase from Central Islip to Farmingdale is slated to be completed by 2018.

“I see this as a game-changer for Long Island,” said Williams.