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Drag-racing hobbyists have tough road ahead

Long Island Needs A Dragstrip founder John Cozzali

Long Island Needs A Dragstrip founder John Cozzali speaks during a press conference announcing the formation of an ad hoc drag racing committee in Hauppauge on Feb. 7, 2017. Credit: Ed Betz

Long Island fans of sanctioned drag racing are again pushing for a local drag strip. And some Suffolk County lawmakers are again making noises about helping them achieve their dream.

Before revving their engines, they should toughen their questions.

If a drag strip would be such a big boost to the region’s economy, why did previous versions go bust? Would a recognized strip really cut down on unlawful nighttime street racing that can end in tragedy? Why should Suffolk help adherents of a hobby find a place to practice it in communities that have signaled opposition? It makes even less sense because it requires up to 250 acres in a region that prizes open space and lacks land for real priorities like workforce housing and assisted-living facilities.

If racing fans want a drag strip, they should go ahead and get it done. Find investors. Buy a property. Run the gauntlet of public hearings, zoning meetings, environmental analysis, permits, site plans. And if the outcome is shovels in the ground, congratulations.

But if there are no investors and no land and no host community, drag racing fans finally will have to accept the fact that most of Long Island doesn’t want a drag strip in its backyard. 

— The editorial board