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LIRR's East Side Access gets $215M

Action in Albany will enable continuation of construction

Action in Albany will enable continuation of construction of the East Side Access tunnel to bring LIRR trains to Grand Central Terminal. (Jan. 28, 2010) Credit: Craig Ruttle

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's plan to bring the Long Island Rail Road to Manhattan's East Side got a $215-million injection yesterday.

Federal officials announced the release of $215 million in previously promised grant money for the $8-billion East Side Access project, which is to be completed by 2019.

The money will go toward architectural, engineering, project administration, and construction services, according to statements from Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

"This new installment of federal funding represents a strong commitment to this vital project for Long Island commuters and the thousands of construction workers employed in moving it forward," Bishop said in a statement.

Schumer said in a statement that the release of the money "signs, seals and delivers on our promise to maintain funding for" the project.

The federal government has already kicked in $2.6 billion toward East Side Access. The MTA is also hoping for a $2.2-billion federal loan for the project, which will connect the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal through newly bored tunnels in Manhattan and Queens.

The MTA has said the project will save about 160,000 LIRR riders at least 40 minutes a day on their commutes and also raise property values in Nassau and Suffolk.

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