The following Letter to the Editor was published in Newsday on September 17th, 2018. You can read the original version here.
“Double track finally on track” [Editorial, Aug. 23] is correct to highlight just how critical the Long Island Rail Road’s double-track project is to the region’s future — especially when one considers the role of the new track alongside other large-scale projects being built within the metro region, including East Side Access, Third Track, and eventually, the electrification of LIRR tracks farther east.
Compared to often-heated public discourse that surrounded the railroad’s third-track effort, the conversation around the double-track project was notably muted, giving Long Islanders the rare opportunity to witness a multimillion-dollar capital improvement being constructed across the center of the Island with nary a protest or lawsuit raised.
Double track should serve as a strong reminder to the elected officials, policymakers, and developers who are working to reshape suburbia in the 21st century that all planning efforts can be successful with the right mix of consensus, fiscal support, and community engagement.
With the right approach, big things can still be accomplished on Long Island.
Editors’s Note: The writer writes about Long Island land use at TheFoggiestIdea.org, and is an adjunct professor in Stony Brook University’s graduate public policy program.