Gov. Cuomo announces LIRR expansion between Floral Park and Hicksville

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Stacey Sager reports on the governor's plan to add a third LIRR track between Floral Park and Hicksville.

Relief could be on the way for the 300,000 daily riders on the Long Island Railroad.

Broken rails and signal problems often lead to big delays on the busy commuter line.

But now New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing putting a third track over a few miles stretch between Floral Park and Hicksville to ease congestion and improve service.

Proponents have long argued that a so-called "passing lane" on the LIRR can't come soon enough.

All you need to do is look at the bottleneck of commuters when things don't work as they should.

And that happens a lot. In fact Governor Cuomo points out it happened during Tuesday morning's commute.

"40,000 commuters were delayed up to 20 minutes in both directions. Why? because there's no alternative track," said Cuomo.

So now he's proposing a billion dollar solution for 9.8 miles of track between Floral Park and Hicksville.

State officials say a third track could serve 40 percent more commuters.

"Half hourly service on the mainline, truly an option for people to use...get out of their cars and use mass transit, which wasn't available before," said MTA CEO Thomas Prendergast.

And they say it's different than proposals that were shot down by affected communities in years past, that this time only about 20 homes and 30 businesses near the tracks are affected compared with 250 before.

But not everyone is sold.

"You know, multi billion dollar boondoggle again. It's an unwanted, unneeded 3rd track when there are other solutions that are being presented by the sister agency, the Long Island Railroad," said Floral Park Mayor Thomas Tweedy.

Ask the Governor. He says the numbers drive the need. That back in 1834, when the LIRR began, Long Island's population was only 37,000. Now it's 2.9 million. And reverse commuters like Brandy Weixlbaum, are hurt the most by the lack of options.

"It's incredibly frustrating. Me personally, I only have one train that comes to my location and I have to wait hours and hours and hours. And if that train is delayed, I'm stuck there," she said.

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