MTA President Janno Lieber

liebermeeting

Janno Lieber talked about the three biggest projects undertaken by the MTA: the recently completed Second Track project, the Third Rail expansion project and the East Side Access Project. He said these projects, once completed, will increase capacity by 50%, meaning more people will be using the railroad, more people will be arriving on time and have a better travel experience.

Mr. Lieber said MTA ridership will undergo a transformation once these projects are done because the MTA will have reverse peak service, meaning more New York City residents will take the LIRR eastward to jobs on Long Island.

Last week, the Main Line Double Track along the Ronkonkoma branch opened up. It comprises of 18 miles of track and allows trains to be routed around other trains that may be moving at slower speeds or are being delayed. In addition, three more trains have been added for reverse peak service. The project was completed more than a year ahead of schedule; Mr. Lieber credited that to the design/build approach, in which the developer and the contractor work together to come up with the most efficient project possible.

Mr. Lieber said he is looking for the newly renovated LIRR Stations as not just a commuter hub but a railroad station with a sense of place. He cited the Wyandanch train station being transformed as part of the Wyandanch Rising development, adding this is being similarly done with Deer Park and Brentwood.

For the Third Rail Expansion Project between Floral Park and Hicksville, Mr. Lieber said the tracks will be redone in order to eliminate bridge and grade crossings, where numerous crashes and fatalities have occurred. As part of its ongoing efforts to reach out to the community, the MTA has made numerous “community commitments” in which they meet with town and village officials and community organizations seeking their input and giving the local communities the opportunity to rate the contractors.

Mr. Lieber also shared details on the East Side Access project. The $10 billion project will consist of 40 miles of new tracks and 11 trains to Grand Central Station. This will save Long Islanders 40 minutes on their travel time and eliminate overcrowding at subway stations. Since it will be underground, he said, the MTA is making updates to the 63rd Street tunnel to prevent flooding.

The MTA is also working on the Harold Interlocking Northeast Corridor Congestion Relief Project, in which work is being done to create bypass routes so LIRR trains and Amtrak trains do not hold each other up while going through other lines along the Northeast corridor. According to Mr. Lieber, work is 75% complete; the problem was that, initially, Amtrak refused to offer help on the project because it was their property; Mr. Lieber urged Amtrak to help, stressing the need to provide high-speed train service. Since then, Amtrak relented and agreed to offer its employees to assist on the project. Completion is scheduled for 2022.

In addition to overseeing the agency’s mega-projects, Mr. Lieber oversees the MTA Real Estate Department, the upgrade of MTA’s project management capacity and the integration of real estate planning and economic development into MTA’s infrastructure projects. He previously spent 15 years working on the World Trade Center project with Silverstein Properties.
Janno Lieber talked about the three biggest projects undertaken by the MTA: the recently completed Second Track project, the Third Rail expansion project and the East Side Access Project. He said these projects, once completed, will increase capacity by 50%, meaning more people will be using the railroad, more people will be arriving on time and have a better travel experience.

Mr. Lieber said MTA ridership will undergo a transformation once these projects are done because the MTA will have reverse peak service, meaning more New York City residents will take the LIRR eastward to jobs on Long Island.

Last week, the Main Line Double Track along the Ronkonkoma branch opened up. It comprises of 18 miles of track and allows trains to be routed around other trains that may be moving at slower speeds or are being delayed. In addition, three more trains have been added for reverse peak service. The project was completed more than a year ahead of schedule; Mr. Lieber credited that to the design/build approach, in which the developer and the contractor work together to come up with the most efficient project possible.

Mr. Lieber said he is looking for the newly renovated LIRR Stations as not just a commuter hub but a railroad station with a sense of place. He cited the Wyandanch train station being transformed as part of the Wyandanch Rising development, adding this is being similarly done with Deer Park and Brentwood.

For the Third Rail Expansion Project between Floral Park and Hicksville, Mr. Lieber said the tracks will be redone in order to eliminate bridge and grade crossings, where numerous crashes and fatalities have occurred. As part of its ongoing efforts to reach out to the community, the MTA has made numerous “community commitments” in which they meet with town and village officials and community organizations seeking their input and giving the local communities the opportunity to rate the contractors.

Mr. Lieber also shared details on the East Side Access project. The $10 billion project will consist of 40 miles of new tracks and 11 trains to Grand Central Station. This will save Long Islanders 40 minutes on their travel time and eliminate overcrowding at subway stations. Since it will be underground, he said, the MTA is making updates to the 63rd Street tunnel to prevent flooding.

The MTA is also working on the Harold Interlocking Northeast Corridor Congestion Relief Project, in which work is being done to create bypass routes so LIRR trains and Amtrak trains do not hold each other up while going through other lines along the Northeast corridor. According to Mr. Lieber, work is 75% complete; the problem was that, initially, Amtrak refused to offer help on the project because it was their property; Mr. Lieber urged Amtrak to help, stressing the need to provide high-speed train service. Since then, Amtrak relented and agreed to offer its employees to assist on the project. Completion is scheduled for 2022.

In addition to overseeing the agency’s mega-projects, Mr. Lieber oversees the MTA Real Estate Department, the upgrade of MTA’s project management capacity and the integration of real estate planning and economic development into MTA’s infrastructure projects. He previously spent 15 years working on the World Trade Center project with Silverstein Properties.

Suffolk County Sherriff Errol Toulon

toulonmeeting

Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon discussed his background in law enforcement. His father was a warden at Riker’s Island and he also joined Riker’s as a corrections officer. During the crack epidemic of the 1980s, the jail held 25,000 inmates.

He joined the New York City Department of Corrections in 1982. In 1996, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and, in 2004, left his job to undergo a round of cancer treatments. He later returned to the Corrections Department and stayed there until 2017, when he said he was “forced to resign.”

With just 53 days before Election Day 2017, Sheriff Toulon mounted a campaign for sheriff against Larry Zacarese. What made the election more interesting was that Toulon was not declared the winner until December 4, 2017 – almost one month after Election Day – because of all the absentee ballots that needed to be counted. The previous month, it had been too close to call.

His goal as sheriff is to reach out to as many children in the county as possible. He said he would rather see these children now than later, when they are arrested and facing jail time. He visits local schools to address issues facing today’s students, including drugs, gangs, crime and bullying. He also addressed concerns from school faculty and administrators about school safety since the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14. Sheriff Toulon said school districts operate autonomously so they decide how to handle school security, whether it is armed guards or private patrols.

In August, the sheriff’s office began to work with Sandy Hook Promise, a group formed by parents whose children were killed in the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, to talk to students about reporting anything that can lead to a classmate’s suicide or a school shooting. If they know something, he said, they should tell a trusted adult.

In handling the prison population, Sheriff Toulon emphasized rehabilitation – helping those who are incarcerated in turning their lives around and giving them a positive role model and getting them the treatment they need. According to the sheriff, 80-90% of those in jail may be suffering from substance abuse or mental health issues or never had any positive role models in their lives. To protect the older inmates, those 55 and older have been moved into a new facility so that they are not in the same facility as the younger inmates.

Among some of the changes next year are that, as of April 1, 2019, all incoming prisoners will begin rehabilitation immediately. Also, effective October 2019, no inmates younger than 18 will be incarcerated; this was part of Governor Cuomo’s “Raise The Age” program. However, once those at least 18 years of age enter the prison system, Sheriff Toulon said they will be given instruction and have discipline instilled in them.

Sheriff Toulon said that, if the organization within his office fails, that falls on him. In an effort to improve training and morale, he has all deputies and corrections officers undergo two-day training on how to properly restrain prisoners or suspects and proper usage of firearms. He has also met with the female police officers to see what concerns they may have working in a male-dominated police force. He has also instituted an Employee of the Month program, in which a deputy, civilian employee and corrections officer are each chosen for the honor by their respective supervisors.