Statement from Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.

Memorial Day weekend has arrived on the East End of Long Island. Traffic is already backing up everywhere and the “Trade Parade” stretches all the way to the East Quogue exit on the Sunrise Highway. It’s taking hours for residents to get to work this morning.

Where is the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to help with our traffic issues? Nowhere to be found.

Despite the success of the South Fork Commuter Connection (SFCC) in providing an alternative to the “Trade Parade”, the LIRR decided to put the interests of seasonal vacationers over working class East Enders who need to get to work and canceled SFCC summer Friday service.

The modest request of elected officials to provide a single morning train to match the existing afternoon westbound service was rejected. The LIRR said they couldn’t find ONE TRAIN to provide morning service to commuters going to work because they are needed for seasonal service.

This evidences a lack of vision at the LIRR. They are failing in their primary mission as a commuter railroad. They are missing an opportunity to grow future ridership. Despite all the taxpayer money they get from the East End in the form of sales tax, mortgage recording tax and MTA payroll tax, they could not find one train to run on summer Fridays. The silence from LIRR headquarters in Jamaica has been deafening.

Every Friday this summer I will provide a report to East End commuters pointing out the failures and ineptitude of the LIRR in providing service to our area and offering solutions that would provide our region with the transit service it deserves. Traffic will continue to increase on the East End, as it has for decades. Improved public transit must be part of the solution. If the LIRR is going to turn a blind eye to our needs, we must explore other options.