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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced a renewed effort to expand capacity on the MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Main Line between Floral Park and Hicksville by adding a third track.The project, which calls for building an additional track along that portion of LIRR's line, will allow the railroad to increase service, reduce congestion and train delays after incidents, and enable "reverse-peak" trains to run during traditional business hours, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) officials said in a press release.The proposal also is aimed at providing a more attractive alternative to driving and thereby reducing road traffic on Long Island's major east-west highways.
In addition, the expansion project will complement the East Side Access project, which is slated to double LIRR's capacity into Manhattan by building a new terminal underneath Grand Central Terminal.Cuomo's plan reduces the length of the LIRR expansion in prior proposals from 11.5 miles to 9.8 miles to minimize impact on communities along the right of way, MTA officials said. Additionally, the number of property acquisitions would be reduced to 50, compared with 200 in prior proposals. The LIRR will launch a community engagement program to ensure local input is heard and addressed, MTA officials said. The effort will include direct outreach to property owners adjacent to the track and broad outreach across all affected communities."A third track will enable us to provide a better experience for our customers with better on-time performance and fewer hassles from delayed trains," said LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski of Cuomo's proposal. "And it will attract new customers to our environmentally friendly mode of transportation."