State Sen. Kemp Hannon is making a last-ditch attempt to derail the LIRR third track project. Hannon has introduced a bill in the State Senate — S-6776 — that would seemingly transfer the $1.95 billion in funding for the long-awaited project to developing “advanced signal and communication technologies” on the railroad and mass transit.
But the third track project includes a modernized signal system; it is an intricate part of the new plan.
In response, the Long Island Association took off the gloves, calling Hannon’s ploy “outrageous.” President and Chief Executive Kevin Law said, “This misguided bill is wrong for Long Island and would hamstring efforts to modernize our transportation system.”
Hannon does not appear to have the votes in the Senate, never mind the Assembly. And surely Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who is passionate about the third track project, will veto the bill. So what’s the play here?
Most likely, the Garden City senator is throwing in an obstacle to slow down the final negotiations on community benefits packages among local mayors and the governor’s office. Once those mayors give a thumbs up for the third track, Hannon and Sen. Elaine Phillips will lose their cover for opposing a project that’s critical to improved service for commuters as well as the economic future of Long Island.
Or is it really just a political tantrum because the governor blocked legislative pay raises and spoke favorably of Hannon’s opponent in 2016?
This originally appeared in The Point. To subscribe, click here.