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Islip looks to fund people mover by airport

An aerial view of Long Island MacArthur Airport

An aerial view of Long Island MacArthur Airport is shown. (Dec. 12, 2011) Credit: Charles Eckert

The Town of Islip is hoping to secure grant funding for a feasibility and environmental impact study to explore building a "people mover" in Ronkonkoma around Long Island MacArthur Airport.

The town board is expected to vote Tuesday at its regular meeting to apply for and accept grant funds for the rapid transit system project. Town officials have submitted an initial application for transformative grant funding to the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council for the people mover, which would be part of the Ronkonkoma Hub development, said Islip chief of staff Lynda Distler, adding that this development was one Supervisor Tom Croci had envisioned for the airport.

"Imagine getting on a people mover to get to work . . . being able to do the commute on the Long Island Rail Road and coming to work on the people mover. Cars off the roads," Distler said.

But, she said, the biggest benefit would be for MacArthur-bound fliers traveling to the town-run airport.

"Imagine the traveler coming in from the train to the plane," Distler said. "I see people in my mind pressing a button, and a car appears, and you and your family walk seamlessly from mass transit to a people mover onto the plane."

In a rendering provided by the town, an envisioned rapid transit system wraps around MacArthur and moves people from the Ronkonkoma LIRR station to the airport terminal and nearby hotels, downtown areas and the Islip-run Foreign Trade Zone.

"It's conceptual," Distler said. "We have no idea what it will look like, but we have some ideas about what route it could follow."

The Islip Town Board meets Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Islip Town Hall, 655 Main St.

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