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East End Transportation- Hank Decillia Ex Dir
January 5, 2007 @ 12:00 am EST
This morning our issue was East End Transportation. Hank DeCillia is the Executive Director of Five Towns Rural Transit Inc. Mr DeCillia explained that the east end Long Island was so poorly served by mass transit that there were 5 hours between trains in certain locations. The LIRR has no intentions of improving the situation anytime soon. DeCillia’s organization has proposed a system of self propelled rail units that could be as small as one car. These rail links would be coordinated with a system of shuttle buses that would have 30 minute intervals. The service would not technically be termed “light Rail” because it would be compatible with the rails that are in place for the LIRR. The frequency of this service would make mass transit more appealing.
The bridge points where the new system will connect to the LIRR are Speonk on the Montauk line and Ronkonkoma for the North Fork connections. The new units will not interfere with the present LIRR service. The present LIRR service handles a very large volume of passengers when the summer demand is there. The new system will share the tracks by installing a number of passing sidings. There are a number of groups that will benefit by these enhancement. The full time residents, Commuters, Renters/2nd homeowners and reverse commuters. The reverse commuters are those people that travel east to work. The self propelled units will be modern, clean burning, diesels or perhaps a hybrid technology. The bus component will be hybrid. Mr. DeCillia spoke about the environmental aspects. This system will have a lower contribution to the air pollution problem than increasing automobile capacity. The cost is another issue. The system will have a significant cost, but DeCillia points out the road improvements that will be needed are even more costly. The good news is that much of the funds that will be needed, already exists. There are $60 million dollars paid by east enders to the MTA in taxes. The operating costs of the new system are estimated to be $40 million. The other aspects of reducing air pollution and road congestion make this proposal worth looking into. See the East End Shuttle at www.eastendshuttle.org for more info. LIMBA will consider making this initiative a project we will support when the board meets again.