A file photo of a train pulling into the Ronkonkoma...

A file photo of a train pulling into the Ronkonkoma LIRR station. (Sept. 30, 2011) Credit: Ed Betz

It's a shame to see the respected Rauch Foundation fund such a one-sided report . By advocating for Long Island Rail Road capital projects that are already well in the pipeline -- the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's East Side Access project and the double-track plan between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma -- the foundation has failed its bold ideas mission.

Certainly there are plenty of economic trends relevant to the LIRR, from a long economic slump to the explosive growth of New York City bike paths -- but no place near Penn Station to store the bikes. An analysis of the best place to build a sorely needed north-south rail connection, for instance, would have been original.

By focusing on projects such as a second midtown LIRR terminal, at Grand Central, when we don't even have downtown access, the study simply promotes allocating billions for a very small minority of MTA customers. When trains travel to either Penn or Grand Central stations, I believe that the result will be longer wait times departing the city for nearly all -- even if there is a shorter commute into the city for some.

Steven Hirsch, Great Neck

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