Testimony of Ryan Lynch
LIRR President's Forum
May 14 , 2008

My name is Ryan Lynch, and I am the Senior Planner and Long Island Coordinator for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit organization working toward a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

I am speaking in favor of the LIRR Main Line Corridor Improvement project and while I only represent my organization this evening, it is important to note that Tri-State is also a member of the Coalition for the LIRR Main Line project, a group that consists of over 17 environmental, business, health, labor, smart growth, planning and civic organizations in support of the Third Track project.

There has been a great deal of local opposition to this project, and while Tri-State can empathize with these concerns, we feel that the benefit to Long Island’s continued economic strength, environment and quality of life that this project will bring, far outweigh the drawbacks.

This project will bring increased reliability to all of LIRR branches. It will not only improve Main Line service, but also service on the Oyster Bay and Port Jefferson lines. The project will also support growing demand for ‘reverse commuters’ as well as increase capacity for intra-island commutes between, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Most importantly, in our opinion, this project is an important component of the LIRR’s overall network strategy, which includes its East Side Access connection into Grand Central Terminal. In order for Long Islanders to fully reap the benefit from each of these individual projects, moving forward with the Third Track project is imperative.

While the LIRR’s initial public outreach on the Third Track project left much to be desired, President Williams and her staff have made strides to address community concerns over the past year. LIRR needs to continue to address community concerns, while at the same time, expedite this important project.

As supporters, we are certain that the DEIS will show decreases in asthma rates as more and more commuters take advantage of increased service and abandon their cars, as well as improved pedestrian safety from the elimination of street grade level crossings, as only two of the many benefits the Third Track project will bring.