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MTA: L Train Repairs Won't Begin Until 2019; Full Or Partial Shutdown Still Undecided

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has still not decided how to handle the shutdown of the L Train for overdue repairs.

As WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported, repair work on the line is not supposed to begin until 2019. But the MTA has yet to decide whether or not the line will be shut down completely or just during weekends.

Chairman Tom Prendergast said the MTA is reaching out to straphangers, neighborhoods and elected officials in deciding whether a full or partial shutdown is the best approach to massive repairs to the Superstorm Sandy-damaged Canarsie Tunnel.

"We're letting people know that there are pros and cons to either one of those two alternatives, and we want to make sure we adequately weigh what those pros and cons are, and don't take the decision in a vacuum," Prendergast said.

Prendergast said there is an urgency to the repair work itself, and the contract must be let this year or hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding could be at risk.

The L Train runs beneath 14th Street in Manhattan and connects to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and several other Brooklyn communities going east to Canarsie.

With 225,000 daily riders, the L is critical to straphangers from Bushwick and Williamsburg where the commutes are already crowded.

In January, the Straphangers Campaign said losing the L train would be tougher than when the Montague Tunnel was out of service for R train repairs because there were more alternatives.

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