Congestion pricing a good thing for LI
Now, more than ever, our region needs congestion pricing [“MTA holding hearings on congestion pricing,” News, Aug. 22].
Critics may say the timing is wrong, or that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority doesn’t need the money. But as representatives of the nearly 90% of people who commute to Manhattan’s central business district using transit — millions of people — who continue to ride trains and buses since the worst of the pandemic, we know it’s exactly the right time.
Beginning this week, it’s important that all of us who rely on the Long Island Rail Road — and who count on Long Island’s future — speak up in support of less gridlock, better air quality and more funding for essential transit improvements.
Congestion pricing will raise billions of dollars for critical LIRR projects like upgrading signals from Babylon to Patchogue; platform and station repairs, and accessibility projects throughout the system; new (and more) train cars — more M9 “unicorns” to replace M3 “dinosaurs” that are back from retirement; and state-of-good-repair projects that will mean faster, more reliable rides with fewer delays. Subways and buses will similarly benefit — and that can’t come soon enough.
Without it, the 2017 “summer of hell” will look like a day at the beach.
As more commuters get back on trains, those who must or choose to still drive will also benefit from congestion pricing. With fewer cars on the road, motorists can say goodbye to bumper-to-bumper traffic and hello to faster trips, less idling and better air quality. With major storms like Sandy and Ida becoming more frequent, transit is one of our greatest weapons in fighting climate change. That’s crucial for Long Island.
Congestion pricing will reduce car trips and their emissions while funding resilience improvements to help strengthen our transit infrastructure and the Island against the next big storm.
— Gerard Bringmann, Patchogue
The writer chairs the LIRR Commuter Council.
Homeowners’ tax relief? Checkmate
With the announcement of the Homeowners Tax Rebate Credit, we were told that all checks would be mailed by the end of June [“Tax relief lagging,” News, Aug. 20]. Next it was July, then by the time the school tax statements are sent out, and now it’s by the end of the year.
I contacted my assemblyman, who contacted the tax department, who had a respresentative call me. The only information I could get was that my check was not sent out yet. No reason for the delay or when it might be sent.
It would be nice if Gov. Kathy Hochul found out what is going on. Obviously, the department handling the checks cannot do the job in a timely fashion.
— Howard Pettersen, Massapequa Park
Bill too little, too late, and too much wait
The “major victory” applause for the Democrats’ prescription drug component included in the recently passed legislation perhaps should be delayed to match the effective dates and possible outcomes [“A major victory on drug costs,” Editorial, Aug. 21].
As the editorial notes, to accommodate the budget reconciliation process’ sleight of hand, the Medicare Part D negotiations begin in 2026 while the out-of-pocket cap starts in 2025. Meanwhile, refilling my 88-year-old uncle’s Eliquis blood-thinner prescription — Medicare’s most popular dispensed as written drug — is a $137 co-payment this month. The new benefits will be his 91st and 92nd birthday gifts. Forgive me if I am skeptical that this “major victory” will match the current applause level.
— Glenn Tyranski, Huntington
Put more troopers on all LI parkways
Readers say the Southern State Parkway has tailgating, weavers, speeding and apparently not enough state troopers in Farmingdale [“Readers: Fix the Southern State,” Letters, Aug. 21]. You hardly see any police on this roadway and all other parkways on Long Island.
Speed cameras could help. They are used on the Thruway, but people complain about anything that controls their driving. Maybe put a van on a bridge, with police clocking speeds, and they advise troopers to chase down speeders and reckless drivers.
— Bruce Simpson, West Babylon
Pat on the back for Massapequa Coast
Congrats to the Massapequa Coast Little League team for making the Little League World Series [“Massapequa’s dream run ends,” Sports, Aug. 22]. It’s a true accomplishment.
And it’s a true “World Series,” which is not the case for the professionals in our country. Theirs should be called the “American Series,” or the “North American Series,” respecting the Toronto Blue Jays. It would be great to have a true international pro World Series each year, not just every four years at the Summer Olympics.
— Rick Meuser, Huntington Station
WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO JOIN OUR DAILY CONVERSATION. Email your opinion on the issues of the day to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should be no more than 200 words. Please provide your full name, hometown, phone numbers and any relevant expertise or affiliation. Include the headline and date of the article you are responding to. Letters become the property of Newsday and are edited for all media. Due to volume, readers are limited to one letter in print every 45 days. Published letters reflect the ratio received on each topic.