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Island coalition arrives in Albany, presses for bus service, sewers, roads

Bus service in Nassau and Suffolk counties is

Bus service in Nassau and Suffolk counties is on the agenda for the Long Island Lobby Coalition during a lobbying blitz in Albany on March 3, 2015. This is a Nassau Inter-County Express bus in Carle Place on March 26, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

ALBANY - The Long Island Lobby Coalition  is pressuring state lawmakers Tuesday to earmark money for the Bay Park sewage plant,  county bus service in Nassau and Suffolk, tax help for non-chain pharmacies, and expedited superstorm Sandy relief.

The coalition of business, environmental, transportation and labor groups arrived at the State Capitol Tuesday to make its case just four weeks before the state budget deadline. Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, said the effort is about seeing “Long Islanders united in working to get our fair share of resources from our state government.”

The coalition is set to meet with the Island's Senate and Assembly members throughout Tuesday afternoon.

A key part of the group’s agenda is securing infrastructure aid. Like the Long Island Association and others, the LILC has raised issues about whether the region is getting shortchanged in the divvying up of New York’s $5 billion windfall from national banking settlements.

“Long Island gets 3 percent of that, right now,” Alexander said, referring to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposed budget. “We need to get more than that.”

In January, Cuomo, a Democrat, proposed spending $3 billion of the $5 billion on infrastructure projects – but earmarked a sliver, $150 million, for Long Island, to be spent on two parking garages.

Echoing other groups, the Long Island Lobby Coalition said the region needs money for sewer upgrades at Bay Park and Huntington Station, Shirley and Mastic, as well as bus service. The coalition also is pitching offshore wind power, IRA accounts for small businesses and a regional “emergency supply depot” in Melville.

“We’re not looking for funding. We’re looking for investment,” said Brandon Palanker, a vice president for Renaissance Downtowns, a Plainview-based developer.

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