One of the new M9 trains in Hicksville on Sept....

One of the new M9 trains in Hicksville on Sept. 10, 2020. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The article "Have you caught the unicorn?" [News, Feb. 15], concerning delays associated with the Long Island Rail Road’s $734 million procurement of 202 M9 electric replacement cars in 2013, is nothing new. I don’t recall any Metropolitan Transportation Authority, LIRR, Metro-North, New York City and the Federal Transit Administration or locally funded commuter rail or subway car procurement completed on time, within budget and without contract-change orders. There are more problems with this purchase. The MTA’s own independent engineering consultant forecasts an October 2022 completion date. There is no guarantee this date will hold. The LIRR procurement for new M9 and M9A cars are several years behind schedule. The oldest M3 cars will have to remain in service longer than planned before all the new cars arrive and are ready for commuters. Instead of being retired, a significant number of M3 cars will be needed for post-COVID-19 and initial East Side access to Grand Central Terminal service starting in December 2022. This assumes the current project recovery schedule holds.

Larry Penner,

Great Neck

Editor’s note: The writer is a transportation advocate and historian who worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office.

Trump should put an end to ‘big lie’

I have a solution for William F.B. O’Reilly’s concern about former President Donald Trump’s ban from social media. He contends that it is more dangerous to censor Trump’s lies because by not exposing them to the light, it allows them to flourish. How about insisting that Trump put the "big lie" to rest by admitting the truth to his supporters and to America that he did lie and he did, in fact, lose a secure and fair election? How about holding him accountable for creating such mistrust, chaos, death and destruction to our democratic way of life? I don’t think we have time to be patient. If freedom comes with responsibility, then one must make things right before getting privileges back. Isn’t that what we teach our children?

Pat DiSalvo,


I believe William F.B. O’Reilly should be ashamed to write such a column about any person, especially former President Donald Trump. Wanting to "drop him to the bottom of the sea," blah, blah. To me, O’Reilly needs to wake up. Some 74 million Americans will agree this is no way to talk about a past president.

Geri Strebel,

East Moriches

LIRR employees — unmasking bad scene

The other day, getting on my train at Wantagh, I was forced to walk between two unmasked Long Island Rail Road employees ["LIRR train staff missing masks, too," Letters, Feb. 8]. These employees stood at the doors, with people needing to pass them as one unmasked employee talked loudly. He only pulled his mask up when we got to Freeport and people of color entered the train. He pulled it back down when they passed. He proudly said, for the rest of us to hear, that he still had his Donald Trump stuff up. He eventually pulled up his mask as he looked at tickets, but no tickets were checked after Jamaica. I am 58 and should not be put at risk like this. This is disgraceful. There is a mandate to wear masks. These workers make a lot of money. How do they get away with this behavior?

Jacqueline Dowling,


Special-needs kids need special care

As an advocate for individuals with special needs and their loved ones, I saw a new low in the story about a woman in Melville harassing a child with special needs ["Woman pleads guilty to harassing child," News, Feb. 11]. The 27-year-old woman should walk a mile in this family’s shoes. She should know the tenfold daily challenges and pressures. She should navigate the government benefits and programs, the Individualized Education Programs, the health care decisions. As the child grows older, she will face issues of housing, guardianship, special needs trust and proper disbursements from estate planning for the family so the child does not lose government benefits. The woman should know about the ever-present concern about the care for the person with special needs after the parents are gone. We should all walk a mile in another’s shoes, and if compassion is too much to hope for, at least treat each other like a fellow human.

Jennifer B. Cona,


Burial expenses add a huge burden

A reader objected to low-income families receiving partial reimbursement for funerals up to $7,000 as a government giveaway to the "unemployed" or those in tight circumstances ["Government money for funerals are government giveaways," Letters, Feb. 14]. I, too, live in her fairy-tale village. But I also know of a grieving widow earning more than $50,000 in a good job who had to borrow money for her husband’s funeral because she had no savings because of the high cost of living in Nassau County. Doesn’t the reader know that government data indicates most Americans live paycheck to paycheck and have no real savings, much less a burial fund? Not everyone can live in Brigadoon and absorb sudden $10,000 shocks.

Michael Kaufman,