Nassau County's recent political and financial implosion threatens to drag 100,000 bus riders down with it. The county's announcement to halve its support for the bus system from $23.52 million to $12.5 million had the MTA slated to eliminate over half the routes, and cut service on the remainder. This plan sparked swift censure from outraged riders, transit advocates and local newspapers, sending NY State Senators Dean Skelos and State Assembly Member Thomas DiNapoli's scrambling to secure needed funds in state budget negotiations.
Yet the legislators' $8 million, as well as $600,000 in supplemental aid released by Governor Pataki, has not solved Long Island Bus' troubles. In a move reeking of partisan politics, the Republican County Executive Thomas Gulotta has announced an additional $3 million cut in Nassau's yearly contribution to LI Bus. Gulotta wants NYC transit riders to subsidize LI bus service and have the MTA permanently replace the county's financial support, while his Democratic adversaries earmark funds from the recent settlement over the closure of the Shoreham nuclear power plant to fill the gap.
After a year of being blasted by environmentalists, the State DOT has partially retreated from plans to widen Route 120 along the Kensico Reservoir. Ninety percent of NYC's water supply flows through Kensico on the way to your faucet. Route 120 between the Route 120/22 overlap and I-684 will remain a two-lane road without paved shoulders. Although turn lanes will be added at some intersections, it is a far cry from DOT's original plan to rebuild the road into a four-lane highway with a median and paved shoulders. However, work in the Route 120/22 overlap across Bear Gutter Creek abutting the Kensico Reservoir will encroach upon valuable wetlands and potentially degrade water quality. NYS DOT has argued that the overlap redesign will provide a safer roadway, but has offered no accident data to justify the claim.
A flyer from the Tri-State
Transportation Campaign, Long Island ACORN,
NJ Transit finished the first section of the $1.1 billion Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system in early April. When completed in 2010, the 20.5 mile long line will carry 100,000 riders a day. For the time being, the 12 newly opened stations from Bayonne to Jersey City will serve 25,000 daily riders. The project is the largest transit expansion underway in the New York City region and will link the Hudson waterfront communities to the PATH train and Manhattan-bound ferries. Ironically, many of the new tracks were set on railbeds left over from the previous generation of trolleys. Before World War II, a dense network of trolley lines spread across northern New Jersey, New York City and most of urban America. It is said that a traveler could take trolleys all the way from Boston to Washington D.C.
The New York State Department of Transportation is spending $5 million for state-of-the-art traffic circles and other modern traffic calming devices on Route 114 near Sag Harbor. The political impetus for the project came from Assemblymember Fred W. Thiel Jr., a Republican and Sag Harbor native. The project employs some of the top traffic calming consultants in the nation. Also underway on L.I. is a traffic calming granting program in which funds from the State DOT Region 10 office will go to cities and towns.
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