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The more things change, the more the LIRR stays the same
Long Island Rail Road commuters are “much harassed.”
The route into Penn Station is “congested.”
So a new Long Island commuter committee has come up with a solution “to the problems of the LIRR tunnel bottleneck into Pennsylvania Station.”
The plan involves diverting tens of thousands of commuters bound ultimately for the Grand Central-East Side area into the LIRR terminal in Long Island City, where buses would wait to provide fast shuttle service through the Midtown Tunnel. As the plan’s architects note, the Long Island City terminal is only 100 yards from the tunnel. And the proposal, they say, would relieve congestion at Penn Station, improve on-time performance and speed commutes for all LIRR riders.
The words, descriptions and solution come straight out of a Newsday story — published on Dec. 18, 1947. Newsday delivered copies of that 70-year-old paper to subscribers on Sunday as part of its series of classic editions.
If you’re thinking that not much has changed over seven decades, consider this: The architects of the plan also said it would shave about 25 percent off monthly LIRR fares. And the example they provided? A Rockville Centre commuter would save more than $3 a month.
Off the to-do list
The recent groundbreaking at the Ronkonkoma Hub marked the beginning of an era. Not only will the project create a significant transit-oriented development at a newly remade Long Island Rail Road station, it also will be boosted by the double- track project.
And that might explain why Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber attended the groundbreaking on Nov. 20. After all, it’s Lieber who is heading the MTA’s expansion efforts, including the double track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma, and a third track from Floral Park to Hicksville. He came to the MTA earlier this year from Silverstein Properties, where he headed World Trade Center rebuilding efforts.
With the Ronkonkoma Hub underway, Lieber can look west to tackle the next double-track nerve centers. There’s Wyandanch, where the LIRR station will receive a similar makeover as part of the Wyandanch Rising revitalization. And then there’s Republic Airport, where plans to develop property at and around the airport have included lots of talk of potentially reopening the LIRR station there.
When Lieber moved to the MTA, Larry Silverstein, the chair of Silverstein Properties, said Lieber was the “glue” that bound all the players during the rebuilding of the trade center.
Can he create the same bonds for Long Island’s transit projects?
Randi F. Marshall
A taxing bill
In conference calls with the media in the past week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo railed against the planned curtailment or elimination of federal tax deductions for state and local income and property taxes, calling them a new and egregious form of “double taxation.”
His point: If the GOP plan becomes law, New Yorkers will pay taxes on money that never made it into their pockets. A New York couple with $100,000 in adjusted gross income would pay about $7,000 in state income tax, and then pay about $1,750 in federal income tax on the earnings they used to pay the state income tax. The same would be true of local property taxes above the proposed $10,000 cap.
And Cuomo is right that there are times when the system does not allow double taxation. For instance, we do not pay state or federal income tax on money deducted from our paychecks to fund Social Security or Medicare.
But Cuomo, or rather, New York State, doesn’t practice what he preaches.
The money New Yorkers pay in federal income tax is not a tax deduction off their state income tax liability. A couple owing on $100,000 in adjusted gross income would pay about $11,000 in federal taxes, and then pay New York about $700 in income tax on that $11,000.
In fairness, most but not all states do this the way New York does. But in Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana and Oregon, federal income tax is deductible on your state return.