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Letter: Senate support needed for MTA

The Long Island Rail Road has reported increased

The Long Island Rail Road has reported increased ridership and record on-time performance figures. (Jan. 23, 2012) Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

Long Island Rail Road riders should be alarmed about the current Albany budget debate, which threatens to not only worsen the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's already dire financial situation, but could aggravate the lives of commuters for years to come ["Budget pushback," News, March 22].

More than $770 million, including major support for critical LIRR capital repairs, has been cut in the State Senate budget resolution that astoundingly is being supported by Long Island's own Senate majority delegation. The Senate's budget goes even further and doubles the damage by removing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's sensible proposed increase of $7 billion in the MTA debt cap. Removing the higher cap would put a halt to a host of essential capital projects.

If that wasn't enough, these Senate actions could jeopardize a $2.2-billion pending federal loan needed to help complete the East Side Access project, providing direct rail service to Grand Central. This project will reduce crowding on trains to Penn Station and improve the commute for LIRR riders.

Long Island residents should demand a fully funded MTA capital program. Our commutes, ability to get to work and economy depend on it.

Robert Wessels, Sayville

Editor's note: The writer is president of the General Contractors Association of New York, a construction lobbying organization.