The following is a quick hit of reporting and editorial analysis from The Foggiest Idea on the local and regional developmental issues that matter.

Published January 25th, 2023


The Long Island Rail Road’s arrival to Grand Central Terminal is long-overdue and regionally significant.

The massive project was first conceived decades ago, with the initial tunnel work first commencing in the 1960s. Since those tunnels were first dug, the project’s cost ballooned. A 2017 investigation from the New York Times found that the estimated price of East Side Access had jumped to $12 billion, or nearly $3.5 billion for each new mile of track. The cost was seven times the average elsewhere in the world.

Still, there is no denying that the public opening of one of the largest rail projects that has been built in the United States since the mid-1950s is a momentous event. Especially within a region that is slowly once again investing in its infrastructure network – Paired with the LIRR’s new Third and Double tracks, Long Island’s transit network should now be well-positioned to handle future suburban growth and ridership demand.

In 2018, The Foggiest Idea was invited to tour the project as it was being constructed.

Then, the concerns about project costs were well-known. But being 140 feet below a bustling midtown, “…those concerns turn to awe. Taking it all in, the endeavor is clearly monumental. Where the Manhattan schist was once solid bedrock, now there are gigantic caverns and several tunnels stretching under the East River to Queens.”

After decades of planning, construction, and billions of dollars poured into the East Side Access effort, the first public LIRR train will leave Jamaica Station at 10:45 AM and speed towards Grand Central, ushering in a momentous new-era of commuting in the region.

An image of Grand Central Madison, the LIRR's new concourse at Grand Central Terminal

The main concourse of Grand Central Madison, the Long Island Rail Road’s new terminal at Grand Central Station. (Photo Source: MTA/Marc Hermann)