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OpinionLetters

Newsday letters to the editor for Monday, May 21, 2018

Newsday readers respond to topics covered.

An LIRR grade crossing at Willis Avenue near

An LIRR grade crossing at Willis Avenue near 2nd Street in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

To ease traffic, electrify the LIRR

Traffic is a critical problem for North Fork businesses seeking to flourish in the increasingly seasonal economy on the East End [“North Fork struggles to find light at end of traffic-jam tunnel,” News, May 12]. But with road-widening a political non-starter, the only realistic solution is to expand public transit.

The Long Island Rail Road should electrify from Ronkonkoma to Riverhead, where scoot trains and buses could then transport people to Greenport and stops along the way. This would take pressure off farmers pivoting to eco-tourism and help them keep their land open, protecting the vistas we and our visitors hold dear.

Electrification would also boost efforts to revitalize long-struggling downtown Riverhead, where transit-oriented development could help address the acute shortage in workforce housing.

Dave Kapell, Greenport

Editor’s note: The writer, a former mayor of Greenport, is executive director of the Right Track for Long Island Coalition, an advocacy organization.

Why not trim to 15 school districts?

As a retired federal employee who lived and worked in Howard and Montgomery counties in Maryland for almost 40 years, I couldn’t agree more with the two letter writers about the burden to taxpayers of 124 Long Island school districts in contrast with the more cost-effective one-county, one-school-district system in Maryland [“Maryland schools get more bang for billions,” Letters, May 14].

If it is not feasible to reorganize the region’s schools into Nassau and Suffolk county systems, why can’t the 124 school districts be consolidated into 15 districts coincident with each of Long Island’s 13 towns and two cities?

Recognizing the tradition of the town structure on Long Island and the social and cultural imprint of town governance, I fail to understand why this wasn’t done long ago. The savings to taxpayers would be significant, with no sacrifice in the quality of education. The current high-cost situation cannot go on forever.

Paul Jacobs, Huntington

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