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Newsday letters to the editor for Monday, June 5, 2017

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

A 2014 photo shows cracks typical of the

A 2014 photo shows cracks typical of the damage found in East River rail tunnels after superstorm Sandy in 2012. Credit: AP / Seth Wenig

Medicaid pays for special education

One aspect of the draconian cuts to Medicaid proposed by the House of Representatives and the Trump administration in the American Health Care Act would be the impact on special education services for children [“The Trump bait and switch,” Editorial, May 28].

Since 1988, Medicaid dollars have been used by school districts to support therapy for schoolchildren who have individualized education plans. These services include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, etc. They may include assistive technology and adaptive equipment, such as wheelchairs and playground equipment.

Should Medicaid dollars be severely cut or eliminated, how would these services be paid for? Since they are required by law, and truly in the best interests of the children, school districts may have no choice but to fund them locally. Clearly, this would add significantly to local property taxes.

Eileen Toomey, Huntington Station

Editor’s note: The writer is a retired special education administrator.

Port Authority run Penn? No way

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has floated the idea of removing Penn Station from Amtrak’s control and handing its management to the Port Authority, the state or a private operator [“Critical to have Cuomo aboard,” Editorial, May 26]. The Port Authority would be a big mistake. It is not even capable of handling its current facilities, including LaGuardia Airport, JFK Airport, the AirTrain and the George Washington Bridge.

Additionally, the Port Authority is not answerable to the public, nor to the politicians who supposedly control it. Any decisions, whether or not they benefit New York, involve input from New Jersey officials, who have their own agendas and people they have to please.

A better idea would be to have the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s subway division manage and improve Penn Station. New York City Transit has years of experience working with rail stations and is constantly engaged in improving what it runs.

The MTA is under the control of New York’s public representatives and is more sensitive to criticism from the public.

Jay Becker, Syosset

LIRR: so much to fix

Newsday has provided vast coverage of the recent Long Island Rail Road chaos at Penn Station.

Amtrak, the Long Island Rail Road and the Port Authority couldn’t care less about the plight of commuters. The situation at Penn could not be corrected as far back as 40 years ago when I commuted regularly, and cannot be fixed now.

The toxic mix of poor management, poor maintenance and indifference has gone on for far too long. Politicians don’t belong in the transportation business.

Better than building a third track between Floral Park and Hicksville would be to take care of the problems we face now. The tunnels under the East River need attention: stress tests, fire suppression, an improved communication system and better escape routes.

Add all of this to the superstorm Sandy damage, and I need not say more.

William Devlin,Rockville Centre

LIRR communication breakdown

The commute to Penn Station on the first day back from the Memorial Day holiday weekend was unbearable. I got on my train in Lynbrook at 8:20 a.m. and was supposed to arrive at Penn at 8:54 a.m.

I heard no announcements, but saw on the platform signs that there were 15- to 30-minute delays into Penn, which I took to mean I would arrive at Penn no later than 9:30 a.m.

More than two hours later, we finally arrived at Penn at 11 a.m.! Why didn’t the Long Island Rail Road update its announcement? I could have elected to get off the train at Jamaica Station and taken the subway into Manhattan. I could have arrived at least an hour earlier or switched to a Brooklyn terminal train with similar results.

The LIRR and Metropolitan Transportation Authority apps, which I monitored while sitting for half-hour periods without moving an inch, continued to indicate 30-minute delays into Penn. Total hogwash!

Bottom line is that the communication system between the LIRR and its customers is horrendous and needs to be improved as much as the track infrastructure itself.

Robert Grogan, Lynbrook


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