October 17, 2021

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LIRR, Nassau fees, hybrid cars, infrastructure and more

LIRR should increase number of cars

I understand the Long Island Rail Road needing to incentivize riders to return to using the railroad [“LIRR peak fares won’t return in 2021,” News, Sept. 16]. Keeping the off-peak fares till the end of this year helps, but with COVID-19 still a concern and ridership increasing, social distancing is becoming a big problem during peak hours given the reduction in trains.

Some riders need to stand, and on many trains riders either don’t wear masks or wear them improperly.

If the LIRR wants to bring back riders and ensure safe rides, it needs to go back to the old schedule and run more trains so cars aren’t so crowded.

The LIRR also must enforce mask wearing, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Wednesday it would do [“MTA’s warning: Wear masks or pay $50 fine,” News, Sept. 23]. That, more than anything, will make riders want to once again take the railroad.

— Barry Katz, Plainview

LIRR must indeed enforce mask wearing

On a recent Saturday, before Wednesday’s announcement of greater mask enforcement, my wife, two grandchildren and I took the Long Island Rail Road from Riverhead to Greenport and back. We were masked up.

Both ways, about two-thirds of the passengers did not wear masks. No signs said masks must be worn. No conductors announced that masks must be worn.

Flight attendants make sure all passengers are masked. These were almost all adults in the cars. If it were a bunch of teens, these adults would have probably called them spoiled kids.

— Paul Spina, Calverton

LIRR projects should consider unforeseen

There is more to “Keep LIRR’s projects on track” [Editorial, Sept. 19] besides being completed “on time and on budget.” Contract change orders, due to unforeseen site conditions or last-minute changes in scope, must be documented as necessary, fair and reasonable. Was there sufficient contingency funding programmed to cover these unanticipated costs?

Quality assurance and quality control, including completion of inspection and acceptance for all work, is needed to ensure it conforms to contract specifications. This will be followed by beneficial use, completion of inspection, acceptance and contract punch-list items, receipt of asset maintenance plans for all project components, and final payment to the contractor(s) followed by contract(s) closeout. The anticipated final cost for both the $11.2 billion East Side Access to Grand Central Terminal and $2.6 billion Main Line Third Track will not be known until completion.

Costs can go up when elected officials pressure the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Rail Road to meet deadlines such as the promised December 2022 completion dates. Excessive overtime is sometimes required to support politicians’ promised ribbon-cutting ceremony dates.

— Larry Penner, Great Neck

The writer is a transportation historian who worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office.

Sign bill to cut fees in Nassau County

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or independent, I think the one thing everyone may agree on is the need to bring tax relief to Nassau County. People are being taxed out of their homes, seeing increases of thousands of dollars because of reassessment.  Republican legislators took a step in the right direction by proposing a bill to cut $100 million in fees [“Checks, fee cuts approved,” News, Sept. 14]. By getting rid of some of these fees, such as the red-light-camera   fee, they are taking a step in the right direction. County Executive Laura Curran should sign it immediately and start to lessen   the residents’ burden.

— Helen Meittinis, Salisbury

U.S. infrastructure needs electric future

The recent terrifying UN report says that even if countries stick to their current greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, we’re still on a pathway to an undesirable future. This is why events like Long Island’s car-free day are so refreshing [“Events will spotlight the carless way to get around,” News, Sept. 18]. Getting out of our gas-guzzling cars and into electric vehicles or alternative means of transportation is a way we can each chip at the source of one-third of the greenhouse gases.

President Joe Biden and the Environmental Protection Agency must finalize the strongest possible clean car standards, leaving no loopholes to allow gas guzzlers. Stricter standards would also encourage developing electric-vehicle technology and increasing a workable charging infrastructure, which is a must for this culture to thrive.

Biden promised us clean transportation on the first day of his presidency, and he must hold himself to that commitment. By the way, I love my all-electric car.

— Star Anthony, Port Washington

Hybrid cars aren’t paying for our roads

If these hybrid cars that use little or no gas are not contributing to the tax revenue needed to maintain our roads, how and where is our government going to get the needed money? Electric and hybrid cars are using the roads maintained by tax revenue for free [“Give hybrid car owners a tax break,” Letters, Sept. 20].

When 2040 comes around and 60% of cars are electric or hybrid, how are roads going to be built and maintained?

— Bob Krauss, Plainview

My solution to the immigration problem

I believe that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should lead by example. Since day one of his presidency, Biden has seemingly welcomed the whole world to come to America [“Many migrants are being released into U.S.,” News, Sept. 23]. Since he and Harris are such nice folks, I believe they should invite many immigrants to their respective hometowns to show that Biden says what he means and means what he says. What a beautiful photo op it would be.

Biden has created a situation that is unparalleled at our southern border. The solution to how we fix this broken situation appears nowhere in sight.

Actually, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) said he’d welcome all immigrants; OK, problem solved. A quarter can go to Delaware and the rest to California.

— Edward Tardibuono, Levittown

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