The following is the public comment that was submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration regarding the NEC Future project. The comment was submitted on January 12, 2016 in Mineola.
January 12, 2016
To Officials within the Federal Railroad Administration:
My name is Richard Murdocco, and I am commenting regarding the NEC Future proposal.
I am a land use columnist, who received my BA in both Political Science and Urban Studies from Fordham University, and my MA in Public Policy from SUNY Stony Brook. My published written work on the subjects of land use and real estate development appears frequently in Newsday, the New York Daily News, Crain’s New York Business, New York Magazine, Pacific Standard Magazine, Long Island Business News, and in a weekly column for the Long Island Press. My work has also been featured live on-air on CBS 2 New York.
A collection of my published work and policy analysis can be found at my website, www.TheFoggiestIdea.org.
The NEC Future project is ambitious in scope, with impacts that would fundamentally resonate across countless communities on Long Island. As a region, Nassau and Suffolk Counties have more pressing transportation needs that affect residents and their livelihoods every day. Examples include construction of a third LIRR track between Floral Park and Hicksville, as well as the much-delayed Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access, all of which would open Long Island’s access to the Northeast Corridor.
What is particularly concerning is the lackluster public input solicitation that the FRA has had with Long Islanders. It is disconcerting that the project has been shaped with stakeholders and policymakers since 2012, but only now, in 2016, is the public being brought into the planning process. Further, to have one public hearing in Nassau County, but not in Suffolk County, where a large majority of NEC Future work is proposed to take place, is troubling.
I formally request the opportunity for the 1.5 million residents of Suffolk County to share their input on this project in a formal public forum, with an extension of the public comment period being given as well.
Good transportation policy is grounded in an assessment of current and future community needs, as well as open and plentiful public input. In this case, it seems that a large majority of Long Island’s residents, with the exception of a select few well-connected insiders, have been left out of the process.
I am optimistic that local elected officials, stakeholders and the FRA will remedy this, and I look forward to constructively working with them on improving quality of service on the Northeast Corridor in the New York Metro Area.
Founder and Publisher,
The Foggiest Idea