After 70 Years of Stagnation, All Projects to Build the New LIRR Moving Forward - Including the Main Line Third Track, Double Track and Jamaica Station Reconstruction
System-Wide Reconstruction of Track, Switches, Signaling and Power Substations will Increase Capacity by More than 80 Percent
Transformation Made Possible by Partnership Between MTA, State and Local Officials and Long Island Communities; Third Track Project Takes Zero Residential Properties and Includes Comprehensive Mitigation Measures
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a historic $5.6 billion transformation of the Long Island Rail Road to strengthen the region's transportation infrastructure and usher in a new era of economic growth. After 70 years of stagnation, all 100 transformative LIRR capital projects are moving forward, including the Main Line Third Track, Double Track, Jamaica Station Reconstruction, 39 renovated Long Island Rail Road stations and grade crossing eliminations -- modernizing transportation across the region to provide a state-of-the-art system for Long Island.
The $5.6 billion transformation is part of New York's $100 billion infrastructure program, the largest in the nation. A central component of this plan is building a new Hudson Tunnel between New York and New Jersey and rehabilitating the existing tubes. The Gateway project will connect travelers from across the Northeast corridor and bring riders into the heart of our system. This critical project is complemented by the development of the new Penn-Farley Complex, featuring the new Moynihan Train Hall, a $1.6 billion, 255,000 square foot facility which is expected to open in 2020. The Penn-Farley Complex also includes the newly opened West End Concourse, which enables LIRR commuters to board trains without entering Penn. Additionally, the transformative East Side Access project will create the first direct LIRR service to the east side and increase capacity to and from Manhattan.
"With the complete transformation of the Long Island Railroad, New York is recapturing the bold ambition that made our infrastructure the envy of the nation and building for the future. The LIRR is the backbone of the region's economy, and the strength and resiliency of Long Island requires bold, transformative investments to bolster our transportation network," Governor Cuomo said. "From the previously unthinkable Third Track and Second Track projects to state-of-the-art technology and signal upgrades, we are daring to imagine better and delivering for the people of New York once again."
Long Island Rail Road-specific components include the following:
Main Line Third Track
The $2 billion LIRR Expansion Project will add a third track to 9.8 miles along the congested Main Line of the LIRR between Floral Park and Hicksville, and eliminate all seven street-level grade crossings within the project corridor. With 40 percent of LIRR passengers going through the Main Line, and the project corridor's critical central position in the LIRR system, delays in the project corridor have rippled across the entire LIRR and impacted thousands of commuters.
At the Governor's direction and after 70 years of stagnation, the state, MTA, local officials and Long Island communities are moving forward on this $2 billion project. The transformative new plan differs significantly from past proposals. The plan takes no residential properties, eliminates seven street-level grade crossings, and widens or increases the height of seven bridges across the line to prevent bridge strikes. Additionally, five new energy-efficient parking facilities with the capacity for 3,500 vehicles are being built in coordination with the Villages of Mineola and Westbury and the Town of Oyster Bay . The facilities will include local on-site management offices.
As part of the transformative third track project, the state is undertaking a comprehensive noise abatement program - replacing all tracks and building the new Third Track with advanced dampening technology. The project includes sound-reducing walls along nearly six miles of residential neighborhoods along the mainline, and features architectural treatments to complement the surrounding environments.
The state will also replace power infrastructure throughout the system with seven new traction power substations to improve reliability and increase capacity enough to power three LIRR trains traveling simultaneously. In addition, to increase safety, the system will add positive train control to prevent operator error.
To ensure community input throughout the entirety of the project, the state is entering into memoranda of understanding with the communities on the Main Line Third Track. The MOUs will invite input on project design, including aesthetic design of certain project elements such as sound walls, consideration for traffic and parking, utilities, drainage, pest and dust control, transit-oriented development, construction schedule and duration and community safety and quality of life.
The $387.2 million, 12.6 mile double track project will enable the LIRR to provide more frequent off-peak service to the Ronkonkoma Branch in both directions, with off-peak service going from one train every hour, to one train every 30 minutes in both directions.
Ridership on the LIRR's Ronkonkoma Branch is more than 48,000 each weekday. With just one track along most of the route between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, the LIRR can operate only a limited number of trains and lacks operational flexibility in the event of a disruption. The project will reduce delays associated with service disruptions by giving the railroad flexibility to go around obstacles that it cannot currently in single track territory.
The double track project will be completed next summer - 16 months ahead of MTA's planned schedule.
Mid-Suffolk Train Storage Yard
Due to lack of east end storage, the state is building a $128 million Mid-Suffolk Storage Yard in Ronkonkoma. The Yard will provide additional space for train car maintenance, inspections and servicing for the electric fleet and thus allow the LIRR to increase service during the AM rush by almost 50 percent, adding eight westbound trains to the current AM schedule. The state is also building 11 additional tracks across 13 acres at the Mid-Suffolk Train Storage Yard, each with the capacity for a 12-car train set. To support the storage yard's operations, the state is also building a new, 28,000 square-foot LIRR Command Facility. Renderings of the yard are available here .
Jamaica Station Signals, Tracks and Infrastructure
The configuration of tracks at Jamaica Station has not been updated since the station opened in 1913. As part of a $375 million project, the state is reconstructing Jamaica Station, which handles nearly all LIRR trains, including higher speed switches and new signals, and a new platform to streamline operations and increase service capacity to Atlantic, Penn and Grand Central.
The project includes a construction of a dedicated track to Atlantic Terminal so trains do not have to use crossovers to access Brooklyn, as the current configuration requires. This track will provide Brooklyn-bound customers a dedicated "scoot" train and the new platform will feature glass-enclosed, heated waiting areas, as well as Wi-Fi and USB charging stations allowing customers to stay connected and charge their phones while they wait for the train. The project will also lengthen five existing platforms to accommodate full-length, 12-car trains to reduce station crowding and resulting delays.
"The LIRR is the backbone of the region's economy, and the strength and resiliency of Long Island requires bold, transformative investments to bolster our transportation network."
Enhancing the LIRR System
To improve passenger experience, flow and convenience, the state is enhancing 39 stations across the system.
The stations include:
Jamaica Station reconstruction - view renderings here
Hicksville Station - view renderings here
Port Jefferson Station - view renderings here
Stony Brook Station - view renderings here
Syosset Station - view renderings here
Brentwood Station - view renderings here
Deer Park Station - view renderings here
Wyandanch Station - view renderings here
Stewart Manor Station - view renderings here
Merrick Station - view renderings here
Bellmore Station - view renderings here
Flushing - Main Street Station - view renderings here
Mineola Station - view renderings here
Merillon Ave Station - view renderings here
Westbury Station - view renderings here
Port Washington Station
Great Neck Station
Met-Willets Point Station
Hunterspoint Avenue Station
Brookhaven National Lab Station
Carle Place Station
New Hyde Park Station
Floral Park Station
Locust Manor Station
Valley Stream Station
Additional renderings are available here
Senator Carl L. Marcellino said, "The Long Island Railroad is the busiest commuter train system in the nation, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers rely on it every day to get to and from work. We owe it to the people of Long Island and we owe it to ourselves to bring this system into the 21st century. A new, more efficient LIRR will make the system safer, more efficient and provide a better rider experience. There has been no better champion for the LIRR than Governor Cuomo and once again we thank him for his continued support for the LIRR and the people of Long Island."
Senator Phil Boyle said, "There are many solutions needed to mitigate the problems plaguing the Long Island Rail Road. The Senate, Governor Cuomo, and MTA officials have shown our commitment through our decision to move forward with the Third Track and with the current improvements happening this summer. This plan is another step in the right direction to do better by our commuters while at the same time improving our infrastructure and promoting economic development throughout the downstate region."
Senator Todd Kaminsky said, "For Long Island to move forward, it needs the kind of bold ideas outlined today by Governor Cuomo. I am also glad to see upgrades coming to Jamaica's signal system -- this project may not have all the fancy bells and whistles but it is vital for a dependable commute."
Senator John E. Brooks said, "Investing in Long Island infrastructure is the right call. I applaud Governor Cuomo's commitment to making the Third Track a reality. It is a bold project that will draw businesses back to Long Island, create jobs, increase home values, and ultimately, attract more young people to raise their families on Long Island."
Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine said, "Our community is thrilled to see the transformation of the LIRR, which for years has gone without desperately needed upgrades that improve safety and efficiency. These investments in New York's infrastructure are the shot in the arm our economy needs with the promise of a return to the big projects that make New York an industry leader. This is an exciting time for our state and an opportunity to remind the nation what we're made of."
Assemblyman Dave McDonough, Ranking Member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, said, "I salute Governor Cuomo's vision and progress which has begun here on Long Island on our transportation and infrastructure network."
Assemblyman Michael J. Fitzpatrick said, "I am very optimistic about the future of Long Island as a region today after listening carefully to Governor Cuomo’s talk this afternoon on the transformation of the LIRR. All of the improvement projects outlined by the Governor will help the Island move confidently toward a brighter future for all residents. Long Islanders care about their property values, and the infrastructure improvements and enhancements he discussed will increase property and home values making Long Island a more attractive location to live and work in. This transformation will improve wealth creation opportunities across Long Island. We may have to endure a brief ‘Summer of Hell’ while much-needed repairs are made to the LIRR, but when this transformation is complete our future prospects will be heavenly.”
Assemblyman Andrew P. Raia said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo and our elected officials for working together to secure the necessary investments to build a better transit system today, while laying the foundation for a brighter, stronger community tomorrow. These new tracks will boost businesses throughout the region and provide safe travel for residents in neighborhoods throughout Long Island, and the new station at Deer Park will be a boon to our community's growth. I look forward to the opening of the third track and a more efficient commute for hard working men and women for decades to come."
Assemblyman Michael Montesano said, "Gov. Cuomo's presentation today regarding the 3rdtrack on the LIRR from Floral Park to Hicksville, the 2ndtrack at Ronkonkoma and the creation of the Farley Station connection to Penn Station coupled with the repairs and modifications that are currently taking place will make the LIRR safer for all Long Islanders, and have created jobs for our local labor force. I'm glad that Gov. Cuomo has stood up for this project. Safety should always come first, and these improvements and repairs have been needed for a long time."
Assemblyman Dean Murray said, "As a sitting member of the NYS Assembly's Transportation Committee, I firmly believe that projects like the third track, the double track, the revitalization of stations and other technological improvements to the MTA/LIRR, all play key roles in deciding Long Island's future. I thank the Governor and my colleagues in the Assembly and the Senate for their steadfast support of this and many other infrastructure improvements that help bring Long Island into the 21stCentury."
Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso said, "A great visionary presentation speech. He is a leader with great ideas that we have not seen in the state government for decades since the master builder Robert Moses. The governor presented an excellent capital plan for Long Island to improve transportation and the dynamics for all the residents who struggle every day to cope with traffic and other related issues. We should be very proud of the capital plan for the Long island region as a legacy for the future generations. This is an infrastructure that we can all be proud of.”
Assemblywoman Melissa Miller said, "I am encouraged by Governor Cuomo’s outlined proposal of the LIRR Expansion Project. These overdue improvements are going to help ease the commute burden and bring jobs to Long Island. I could not agree more that NY is the progressive state and we need to be acting now to improve our infrastructure. I applaud the Governor’s vision of what Long Island could and should be in the future and I fully support his efforts.”
Kevin Law, President and CEO of the Long Island Association said, "The Governor has always been a friend, advocate and supporter of Long Island, and today he is once again delivering for Long Islanders. The third track project represents an historic investment in the region that will drive economic growth and create a better experience for commuters while addressing the legitimate concerns of surrounding communities. I applaud Governor Cuomo for turning this long-awaited project into a reality."
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, we are turning what was once just a dream into a reality for Long Islanders. The third track project will have a transformative impact on Long Island, improving service across the LIRR. And what sets this project apart is that it incorporated the input of the community at every step of the way, ensuring that the Third Track project benefits LIRR riders and communities along the track alike. This is exactly the kind of infrastructure project this state and this county need to keep our economy moving forward."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "For too long, our riders have had to deal with unnecessary delays and growing frustrations as a result of traffic on the main line. But thanks to Governor Cuomo, we are providing relief to Long Islanders and ensuring they have service they deserve. The third track project is a testament to Governor Cuomo's commitment to rebuilding our infrastructure, which fits right in with my Connect Long Island Plan that will relieve traffic congestion, increase mobility and spur economic growth. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Cuomo and all stakeholders to deliver for our residents."
Village of Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi said, "I want to thank Governor Cuomo and his staff as well as the MTA/LIRR for their concern and their efforts in working to reach agreement on the Memorandum of Understanding that will ultimately help ensure that our residences and businesses will be protected as construction moves forward. We look forward to working together, in the same collaborative effort, during the LIRR Expansion Project."
Village of New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said, "I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and his team for the countless hours they spent addressing the heartfelt concerns of our residents who are arguably the most negatively impacted by the project. The Governor has ensured that the concerns of local residents will continue to be addressed and those impacts will be mitigated. The process demonstrates that regional and local interests can be aligned. We look forward to the continued collaboration with the Governor's office and the LIRR as this project is built out to serve the entire region."
Village of Garden City Mayor Brian Daughney said, "Governor Cuomo and his team have shown leadership and foresight with respect to the LIRR Third Track process. The Governor insisted that his team work with the local communities to ensure that the concerns of local communities were addressed and will continue to be addressed throughout the construction process. We appreciate that Governor Cuomo and his team, and the management of the MTA and LIRR, were open and transparent and willing to work with us. Large infrastructure projects are difficult to plan and implement, and the Governor and the State Senate and State Assembly deserve a lot of credit for having the drive and wherewithal to get the Third Track moving forward in a manner that will protect our communities while accomplishing a better transit system. Garden City was founded by Alexander Stewart, who among other things, believed that a working dependable railroad was necessary for a successful community. My guess is that Mr. Stewart would appreciate Governor Cuomo's vision for improving the LIRR through the Third Track project for the betterment of Long Island."
Village of Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said, "Governor Cuomo has shown a willingness to work with and include local governments to establish his record of achievement in tackling large infrastructure challenges and to deliver the transportation options that all New Yorkers deserve. The transformation and maintenance of the Long Island Rail Road is integral to Long Island's future and critical to the health of our downtowns and Long Island's economy."
Village of Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro said, "This overpopulated transit system is finally receiving the attention it needs to provide 21st century travel to residents and visitors for generations to come. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, Long Islanders will finally be provided the efficient, safe means of travel they deserve. I am thrilled to celebrate the launch of this $2 billion project, and the needed infrastructure and safety improvements it represents for our communities and region. I thank Governor Cuomo for his vision and commitment to Long Island and our residents."
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said, "Governor Cuomo has proven yet again that with the right leadership and community collaboration, government can get things done. As part of the nation's largest transportation modernization effort, the third track, Jamaica Terminal transformation, New York is setting a model for every state from coast to coast. I commend the Governor for having the determination and fortitude to see this historic project through, and Ilook forward to seeing progress and seeing this project accomplished as it will improve convenience and reliability for all commuters."
Village of Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri said, "The LIRR is the critical link to the most vibrant commercial hub in the world. Governor Cuomo's tireless efforts ensures that Long Island's efforts to control taxes by creating a vibrant commercial, industrial and tourism base will continue. "
Village of Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said, "Commuters on Long Island deserve to have access to a rail system that is reliable and efficient - the exact opposite of what they have today. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, residents who utilize the LIRR every day will finally be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel - with this unprecedented investment in this region's transportation infrastructure, we can push Long Island into the 21st century while ensuring it's viability for generations to come."
Village of Old Brookville Mayor Bernard D. Ryba said, "The Long Island Rail Road is the backbone of Long Island, and the region depends on continuing to invest in and strengthen its infrastructure. With his visionary plan to transform the LIRR, Governor Cuomo will help support economic growth and drive community resiliency across Long Island. I applaud these investments and look forward to seeing them fully realized to benefit current and future generations of New Yorkers."