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OpinionLetters

Newsday letters to the editor for Friday, Feb. 2, 2018

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

In 2007, developer Polimeni International proposed a 16-mile

In 2007, developer Polimeni International proposed a 16-mile tunnel under Long Island Sound, from Highway 135 in Syosset to Rye, that would be entirely funded by private investors. Photo Credit: Polimeni International

We read “Sound out this crossing,” Newsday’s Jan. 14 editorial saying that the latest Long Island Sound crossing feasibility study, done with our tax dollars for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, merits careful consideration. It seems that Newsday’s editorial board has forgotten important points.

When then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and master builder Robert Moses first proposed the Oyster Bay-Rye Bridge back in 1964, Newsday objected, “What is really wrong with the Moses project, aside from its speculative conclusions, is that it does nothing whatever to further the economic growth of Long Island . . . It simply proposes to funnel more traffic through Nassau — by the way, destroying the North Shore greenbelt and the pleasant North Shore villages en route.”

Community groups filed suit and facts came out about environmental damage and traffic of this boondoggle, and Rockefeller canceled the project in 1973. Just before that, Newsday opposed it, too. There is no mention of this in Newsday’s most recent editorial, though many of the same negative results would accompany a tunnel.

The facts of this latest study show what is behind it: that American staple, the dollar. This project would lead to further urbanization of Long Island, which many residents of our unique communities moved here to escape. Newsday’s editorial didn’t mention what this latest feasibility study overlooked: where the spoils from a tunnel construction would be placed or the enormous air and water pollution that would be generated by additional traffic.

Instead of spending more than $50 billion on construction of an unwanted and unneeded tunnel or tunnel-bridge, as discussed in the state’s feasibility study, why couldn’t that amount be spent improving existing rails and roadways? How about spending it for sewers to cut back the pollution of our groundwater and waterways? These are certainly not as exotic but are sorely needed.

Paul Rupp, Bayville

Editor’s note: The writer is mayor of Bayville and wrote on behalf of the village board of trustees.

There are many reasons to be leery of the reinvograted concept of a tunnel under the Long Island Sound from Oyster Bay or Kings Park [“Cuomo moves ahead on a tunnel,” News, Jan. 27]. Infrastructure projects can run years and millions of dollars over their projected time frames and budgets.

Even accepting that, we still need a crossing, over or under the Sound. Driver registrations in New York State and in Nassau County continue to climb. That leads to bottlenecks at a handful of bridges.

There’s another reason Nassau should look at this positively. Using 2016 statistics, the second- and third-highest toll-collecting entities in the country were the Port Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, each of which collected $1.23 billion or more from bridges and tolls. While it would be a mistake to presume that Long Island would necessarily see revenue of that magnitude from a single bridge or tunnel, the potential for significant revenue should appeal strongly to Nassau County in particular.

A crossing is not a miracle cure, but we need it, and future generations will need it. It is well past time for a tunnel, and tunnel vision is no substitute.

Aaron Eitan Meyer, Oceanside

I strongly oppose Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s tunnel push. He envisions redirecting traffic from the Long Island Expressway, but what about the increase in traffic this could bring if the expressway is easier to travel?

Our beaches, parks and golf courses are overcrowded. Town roads are overcrowded. Roads and bridges are in terrible disrepair. Why couldn’t that amount be spent on that or used to improve our parks?

Our taxes keep going up. Why can’t the billions be spent on reducing our tax burden? Young and old people alike are leaving Long Island because of the tax burden.

Just say no to the tunnel!

Laura Krieg, Syosset

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is proposing a tunnel that could cost $55 billion. I wonder how that will work out? Original estimates are meaningless when it comes down to how much it will actually cost.

The Shoreham nuclear plant was estimated to cost $65 million to $75 million when proposed in 1965. It never went online, although the Long Island Lighting Co. did test the reactor before decommissioning it in 1989. This cost ratepayers more than $6 billion.

Boston’s Big Dig project was projected in 1982 to cost $2.6 billion. The project was completed in 2007 at a cost of nearly $15 billion — or $24 billion when you take into account interest on the debt. I could go on!

While a tunnel off Long Island would be great, I wonder what the final cost would be.

Richard H. Staudt, Mount Sinai

Long Island homeowners have been hit hard with the cap on the federal deduction for state and local taxes.

So instead of our governor looking for ways to cut income, property, school, sales taxes and reduce state government spending, he is spending money to study a bridge or tunnel between Long Island and Westchester County or Connecticut that has been rejected for decades. When will our politicians learn to help their constituents?

Nelson Hunter, Greenlawn

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