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Congressman Tim Bishop, Congressional update.

August 19, 2005 @ 12:00 am EDT


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Members and friends

This morning our speaker was supposed to be Congressman Tim Bishop. Mr. Bishop made a valiant effort to be there but was suffering from a painful, but not life threatening health problem. As a result he turned back at the last minute and went home. His representative, Jennifer Gunn, was there to read some of the points the congressman was going to make.


I will highlight some of the points;

The president’s transportation security request was disproportionately skewered toward aviation. $4.7 billion for aviation and $32 million for rails, buses, and other surface transit systems


The House and Senate passed risk based formulas for homeland security and the congressman supports that approach.


$286.5 billion will be authorizes for highway and public transit projects (there was plenty of pork in this bill but the 1st congressional district will be getting $45 million. (At least we have something to oink about).


The energy bill is an item the congressman rejected because it was heavily tilted to subsidies for oil exploration and very little went to alternative fuels and conservation.


CAFTA, the Caribbean version of NAFTA, was rejected by the congressman because of the negative effects on American labor.


After Jennifer Gunn made Congressman Bishop’s major points we began a discussion among the participants in the room. Fortunately the people in the room included some folks with real expertise and knowledge. Keyspan’s Vincent Frigeria was there to clarify the company’s position on using its property at Shoreham for a ferry point. According to Vincent all the stakeholders, including the neighbors, must have a say in the process.


Gerry Fitzpatrick was there to reiterate his belief that the ferry technology that he is advocating addresses the objections to ferries, including, wake, fuel costs and speed.


Nancy Douzinas from the Rauch Foundation was there to discuss the needs of Long Island that are better addressed if you know the facts about the demographics of the region. The Rauch Foundation has created the Long Island Index. Their work has been an excellent guideline for making recommendations based on perceived needs and known resources.


The meeting was held as a moderated large discussion and many people contributed to that discussion. As a result a lot of ground was covered on the topic of transportation, but there were other issues too. We miss the speaker when an emergency prevents him from being there, but an interesting and enlightening discussion always takes place anyway, due to the knowledge of the audience.


Thanks to all for being there and participating. Next week we will have the publisher of Newsday, Tim Knight. I’ll have more on that next week.

Meanwhile have a nice weekend.


Ernie Fazio