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Tuesday, September 03, 2013    

Amtrak board should have Long Island representation, Schumer says


U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is calling for a Long Island commuter representative to be appointed to Amtrak's board.

Although Amtrak owns and controls all rail tunnels connecting Queens and Manhattan, N.Y — playing a critical role in the daily commutes of hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders — the Amtrak board has no one specifically representing those commuters' needs, Schumer said in a press release issued last week.

This summer, malfunctions in the tunnels caused six massive delays and disruptions to train travel, and having a Long Island commuter representative on the board would increase the focus on tunnel maintenance and improvements, as well as communication with riders, he said.

"More commuters use these East River tunnels than ride on Amtrak's entire Northeast Corridor, and they deserve to have someone looking out just for their interests," said Schumer.

Amtrak's board normally has seven members, but one seat is vacant.

Amtrak owns the four single-track tunnels that run under the East River between Penn Station and Queens. MTA Long Island Rail Road uses the tracks when crossing under the river, meaning the majority of the railroad's 300,000 daily riders travel through the tunnels, Schumer said.

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