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Don’t walk under ladders

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's proposed $32 billion capital

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's proposed $32 billion capital program, which was vetoed Thursday but remains under review, includes funding to complete its East Side Access project to link the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal by 2022. Contractors work on the project below midtown Manhattan on Jan. 29, 2013. Credit: Charles Eckert

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Daily Point

One small step for East Side Access

Could it be? Could the Metropolitan Transportation Authority be moving forward on the seemingly never-ending East Side Access project?

Well, there’s certainly a stepped-up effort to publicize the headway the MTA is making on the long-delayed effort to connect the Long Island Rail Road with Grand Central Terminal.

In a news release Friday morning, the MTA trumpeted plans to test a new signal system at Harold Interlocking, a key rail junction in Queens. The MTA called the work — which is planned for this weekend and two weekends in November and will result in schedule changes for various LIRR lines — “a pivotal step in the progress toward East Side Access.”

But anything that pairs “East Side Access” with “progress” is welcomed with a large dose of skepticism. After all, this is the project that was originally scheduled to finish by 2009. Its current projected completion date is 2022.

Will there ever be a light at the end of this tunnel?

Randi F. Marshall

Talking Point

Water wars

Voters will soon pick a new executive to run Nassau County, but they also might be selecting a general to lead the fight against New York City in the latest battle over water rights.

New York City’s contentious proposal to renew its permits for 68 wells in Queens continues to simmer, as city officials prepare an environmental impact statement on the effects of resuming pumping from wells that have not been used since 2007. The city currently is allowed to pump 62 million gallons daily, but its permits expire this year.

In Nassau County, state and local government officials adamantly oppose re-permitting and reopening the wells that tap into the aquifer, which is Long Island’s sole source of drinking water. Negotiations have stalled in the waning days of the administration of County Executive Edward Mangano.

But the issue is likely to start boiling again after Election Day.

Environmental attorney Michael White, who is advising the county in its discussions with city and state environmental officials, says both candidates running to succeed Mangano — Democrat Laura Curran and Republican Jack Martins — are knowledgeable about the topic and eager to wade into the controversy.

“Both are ready to jump in and competent to handle it,” White told The Point. “I think they are champing at the bit.”

The water wars countdown clock is ticking.

Michael Dobie

Pencil Point

Sawing away

More cartoons of the week

Bonus Point

It's a small world after all

The editorial board is deep into endorsement interview season, with as many as four sessions a day with candidates for various county and town offices.

During a session earlier this week with those running to represent the 16th district in the Suffolk Legislature, Republican Hector Gavilla slyly dropped the same nugget as so many have before him, that he had been a Newsday carrier beginning when he was 12 years old. He rose to become a master carrier, Gavilla said, and added that he “got strong legs” from delivering the paper in his hilly Dix Hills neighborhood.

But Democrat Susan Berland quickly upstaged him by staking claim to a historic precedent: She said she was the first girl -- ever -- to be a Newsday carrier. And Berland said she used her earnings to buy her first car, a 1975 baby blue Pontiac LeMans sports coupe with a white racing stripe.

You never know what will happen when you play the Newsday card.

Michael Dobie