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Suffolk's LIRR fare complaint has Nassau officials nervous

Nassau County legislator Richard J. Nicolello on Jan.

Nassau County legislator Richard J. Nicolello on Jan. 5, 2018. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau Republicans are worried that their LIRR-riding constituents may wind up subsidizing Suffolk County rail commuters because Nassau does not have a representative on the MTA board.

Suffolk MTA board member, Mitchel Pally, on Tuesday complained that his county’s LIRR riders bear an unfair cost burden because they are charged by distance even though they live in less wealthy areas.

Pally said the policy of charging more for those with the farthest commute should be reconsidered for commuters from Suffolk, where the median income is $12,000 less than in Nassau.

There was no response from Nassau because its representative John Molloy, who was recommended to the MTA board by former County Executive Edward Mangano in 2013, resigned in May and the Nassau seat is empty.

So Nassau’s presiding officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) stepped up. “We will fight any attempt to shift the heavy burden of LIRR fares to Nassau’s riders,” Nicolello said in a statement Friday.

Although Newsday reported in June that County Executive Laura Curran had forwarded three names to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo as potential replacements for Molloy, none were submitted to the State Senate for confirmation before the session ended.

“Apparently someone in both the offices’ of the Governor and Nassau County Executive were asleep at the switch,” said Frank Moroney, spokesman for GOP county legislators.

Curran spokesman Michael Martino said, “County executive Curran did submit names to the governor’s office in a timely manner and unfortunately the selection requires confirmation by the Senate. As we all know, this was a chaotic end of session and nobody was confirmed. The county executive knows how critical it is for Nassau to have a voice on the MTA Board and she is confident that will be the case as soon as possible.”

Martino acknowledged that Cuomo had not nominated a Nassau candidate to the Senate for confirmation.

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