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Lhota’s to-do list
Fresh off his appointment as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Joe Lhota has a long to-do list — and a long list of people to call.
On the list is Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.
And among other key issues, Lhota plans to bring up the Long Island Rail Road’s third track.
Lhota is, after all, a huge cheerleader for the third track. In an interview with The Point Friday, Lhota called the project “a requirement to continue any possible growth in the economy of Long Island.”
Lhota pointed to the need for redundancy, and the potential of the reverse commute — two enormous benefits of the third track. But he also pointed to the improvements planned for individual neighborhoods, from sound barriers to grade crossings.
The MTA’s capital plan includes $1.95 billion for the third track and other LIRR improvements. It’s now before the MTA’s Capital Program Review Board, which has until June 30 to veto the plan. Whether or not review board representative and State Sen. Marty Golden issues a veto depends on one man: Flanagan.
If only we could be a fly on the wall for that call ...
Randi F. Marshall
LI’s luck headed to New Jersey
PSEG’s announcement that David Daly, the president and CEO of the company’s Long Island operation, will leave to head the company’s New Jersey segment, ought to put superstitious people on edge.
Daly has been Long Island’s lucky rabbit-foot when it comes to devastating weather. His aggressive dedication to hardening the Long Island Power Authority’s infrastructure to better withstand catastrophe has never really been tested since he arrived in October 2013, after Long Island was pummeled by storms.
The biggest outages during his tenure included 102,000 customers temporarily without power in February 2016 thanks to heavy winds and rain, 88,000 in August 2015 from wind and hail and 63,000 in October 2015, again due to wind and rain. Daly’s system never really got to show its mettle, and no named storm hit during his tenure.
The October before Daly and PSEG took over management from LIPA and National Grid in 2012, superstorm Sandy took out the power of 945,000 Long Island customers, close to 90 percent, and it took more than a week to get that number below 300,000. And the October before that, Tropical Storm Irene smashed Long Island. It didn’t do nearly the property damage of Sandy, but it did knock out power to 500,000 Long Island homes, and many of them waited more than a week to get turned back on.
Daly will be here through Oct. 2, which means he still could be a lucky charm through much of the hurricane season.
Prep work needed for ‘raise the age’
The new “raise the age” law will put a squeeze on counties throughout New York as they seek to comply with the state requirement to supply “a specialized secure juvenile detention facility for older youth.”
Both Nassau and Suffolk counties face hurdles. Suffolk is looking at using a portion of its new jail in Yaphank — provided that state officials approve the plan.
Nassau might have to rely on its aging Juvenile Detention Center in Westbury, built in 1955. Nassau Supervising Judge Christopher Quinn said the center might need an upgrade to expand its 32-bed capacity. “The challenges are substantial in terms of staffing and housing,” Quinn told The Point. “We’re in a good position, but Suffolk is not” because it lacks a separate facility for juveniles.
The law promises that the state will cover the local share of the program. A spokesman for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said the state has budgeted $110 million for construction and $19 million for building or expanding detention facilities.
The law requires diverting nonviolent 16- and 17-year-olds from adult criminal courts to Family Court, except in extraordinary circumstances. New York’s “raise the age” law brought the state in line with all but one other state.
Counties will have time to plan. The law doesn’t take effect until October 2018 for 16-year-olds and October 2019 for 17-year-olds.