On Saturday, July 18 it was announced that Senator Craig Johnson will be recommended by Temporary Senate President Malcolm Smith to serve on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Program Review Board (CPRB). The LIRRCC strongly objects to this appointment due to Johnson’s oppostion to the Main Line Corridor Improvement Project. In a sharply worded letter to Governor Paterson the Council stated:
“In our view, it is an affront to the 301,000 daily Long Island Rail Road riders to appoint to this powerful body a Senator whose most prominent public stance with regard to public transportation is his opposition to the LIRR Main Line Corridor Improvement Project.
The Main Line Corridor Improvement Project is critical to unlocking the potential of the East Side Access project, which will bring the LIRR into a new terminal located adjacent to Grand Central Terminal. In addition, improvements to the Main Line corridor, including addition of a third track, will allow the Rail Road to substantially increase its woefully inadequate reverse peak service, which is currently sacrificed to maximize capacity in the peak direction of travel, as well as providing needed flexibility in the cases of too frequent equipment breakdowns and other operational problems. As advocates for the Long Island commuter, we must speak out forcefully against giving Senator Johnson the veto power to halt a project so essential to bringing the LIRR into the 21st century.”
A similar appeal was made to other Senators in the Region.