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Long Island Index’s 10th Annual Report Focuses On LIRR’s Future

The Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation, has issued its 2013 report, focusing on the future of the Long Island’ss Railroad and how the commuter line could aid the Island’s growth.

The report, titled “How the Long Island Rail Road Could Shape the Next Economy,” was prepared by the Regional Plan Association. The LIRR has been central to the growth and development of Long Island since it was chartered in 1834 and continues to play a crucial role in Long Island’s economy with 25 percent of local income coming from New York City jobs.

While many think of the railroad in terms of its ability to transport commuters between Long Island and New York City, this report highlights how the railroad can play a transformative role for the local economy and can have positive outcomes for all Long Islanders regardless of whether or not they are LIRR riders. It also clarifies that when new rail services are coupled with community revitalization efforts, significant transformations can occur that create new jobs and companies, access to new living spaces and, overall, a more robust local economy. Drawing on the successes of White Plains, N.Y. and South Orange, NJ, the report considers where Long Island might focus for similar growth.

Unlike neighbors in New Jersey and Westchester who have gained significant ridership over the last decade, to date the reach and capacity of the LIRR has remained unchanged since it first connected to Manhattan’s Penn Station in 1910. Now, for the first time in more than a century, the LIRR is poised to provide new capacity on its network. This year’s Long Island Index, is, therefore, focused on illuminating the opportunities and challenges that the LIRR provides, offering unbiased reliable data on which to base a broader public discussion, and encouraging that discussion of how best to maximize public transit’s potential for increasing Long Island’s economic vitality.

With new capacity, the railroad could lead a new era of economic growth for Long Island. By 2019, the East Side Access project will give LIRR riders direct access to Grand Central Terminal and east Midtown Manhattan, the densest concentration of jobs in the country. A second track from Farmingdale to Ronkonkoma could be completed by 2018 and expand service options and reliability on one of the fastest growing yet most overcrowded lines in the system. Beyond these two projects, a deferred and long-debated project – a third track on the LIRR Main Line – has the potential to greatly improve service and support job growth within Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Among the related findings revealed in the Long Island Index are the following:

· With East Side Access, nearly 400,000 homeowners in Nassau and Suffolk Counties will see the value of their homes rise by an average of $7,300.

· With expansion of the Ronkonkoma line to two tracks and the main line to three tracks, employers will have access to many more potential workers – at least 350,000 in Mineola and 226,000 in Hicksville, for example – increasing the attractiveness of Long Island to prospective employers. In addition, major economic development initiatives, such as Wyandanch Rising, the Ronkonkoma transit village project, and the Republic Airport hub would have a much greater chance of success.

· With expansion of the main line to three tracks, service reliability, efficiency and flexibility would be greatly improved, with 50 percent more capacity on the main line to reroute trains, move trains more easily between yards and stations, and add service as needed.

· With all three projects, Long Island’s economy would be in a much stronger position for future growth with faster access to jobs in New York City and greater ease of bringing New York City employees to new jobs on Long Island.

Projects of this magnitude necessarily come with costs and challenges.

The combined construction cost of the three projects is over $10 billion. East Side Access, with a cost of over $8 billion, represents the lion’s share of the capital costs. For East Side Access, the challenge is to complete the remaining construction, which includes the most complicated part of the project, on schedule. Local communities and the LIRR will also need to plan for changes in parking needs and traffic patterns.

“The Long Island Rail Road is one of Long Island’s most important and least understood regional assets,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation. “The 2013 Long Island Index presents many of the facts that highlight the railroad’s potential, and it provides a guide to an important, open, and transparent discussion of the role of public transit in Long Island’s economy and future.”

For a full copy of the 2013 Long Island Index, visit www.longisland index.org. For further information, contact Brooke Botsford at Goodman Media International: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

News

The preliminary 2014-15 school budget was adopted at last Tuesday night’s Oyster Bay-East Norwich school board meeting. The proposed budget, which came in at a figure of $54,578,478, is a 2.01 percent difference from the 2013-14 final budget figure of $53,504,111. With a budget to budget change of $1,074,367, it is the lowest expenditure increase in the last 15 years. No programs were cut as a result of balancing this budget.

“The biggest change in budget numbers is in the area of salaries and wages with a budget to budget increase of $683,428,” said School Superintendent Dr. Laura Seinfeld.

Snouder’s Corner Drugstore is up for sale by Laffey Fine Homes. Patrick J. Valente, licensed associate broker said, “I just showed it yesterday morning to an interested buyer.” He said the asking price is $995,000, “just short of a million” and added, “everything’s negotiable today.”

Valente said, “It’s a great building, a town landmark and it does need work. It would be great for retail and maybe offices are a possibility. The heating plant is working and the taxes are a little under $40,000.”


Sports

Take nine Friends Academy faculty, almost 250 Upper School students and add in a bunch of criss-crossing yellow and orange dodgeballs and you have the makings of one of the largest Friends Academy fundraisers for the North Shore Sheltering Program in Glen Cove.

On Friday, March 28, the Upper School club W.A.T.C.H. (We Are The Community Helpers) sponsored one of the school’s largest dodgeball tournament ever. Reams of students paid $5 each for the potential honor of taking on the Faculty Team.

“All of the student teams wanted to play the faculty,” said WATCH advisor Judy James. “The event would not have been the same without the teachers. They really motivated the kids to come.”

COPE (Connecting Our Paths Eternally), a grief support organization for parents and families living with the loss of a child, will hold its eighth annual golf outing on May 19, at the Muttontown Club in East Norwich. More than 200 golfers and supporters are expected to attend COPE’s biggest event of the year, which raises 75 percent of the organization’s annual budget. The event brings together individuals, families and organizations to pay tribute to loved ones and honor supporters, and has raised more than $1 million from generous corporate and individual sponsors over the past seven years. For more information about the 2014 COPE Golf Outing, visit www.copefoundation.org.

This year’s COPE event will honor Michael Corpuel and the Corpuel and Brown families from Camp Wayne, the site of COPE-Camp Erin New York City, a free weekend bereavement camp for children and teens ages 6-17. Michael Corpuel is also being honored separately for his unwavering dedication to COPE as a board member and adviser since the non-profit’s inception in 1999.


Calendar

LI Sound Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Saturday, April 19

Annual Egg-stravaganza

Saturday, April 19

Palliative Care

Wednesday, April 23 



Columns

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

Sustainable LI: Getting Good Things Done
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

LI’s ‘Most Prominent Lady In Politics’
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com