The following Letter to the Editor was published in Newsday on December 7th, 2021. You can read the original version here.

To ensure the success of the latest proposal for the Ronkonkoma Hub, which is appropriately scaled down from the project’s first troubled iteration, Suffolk County must commit to openly encouraging community input throughout the entire planning and development process [“Ronkonkoma Hub Plan great start, Editorial, Dec. 3”].

Community participation is essential to the success of any urban planning effort, and the long awaited goal of creating a direct link between the Long Island Rail Road and Long Island MacArthur Airport is simply too important for the region’s economic future to fail due to a lack of proper public outreach.

In 2018, Newsday published my op-ed that urged policymakers to stop crafting such plans in secret backroom deals and get back to regional cooperative thinking.

While there is still progress to be made on that front, it’s encouraging to see positive momentum begin to build for this key area of the region.

— Richard Murdocco, Commack

Editor’s Note – The writer is an adjunct professor of planning at Stony Brook University.