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Homeowners, LIRR Commuters At Odds Over Proposed Railroad Expansion

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A contentious meeting was expected in the suburbs on Thursday night, over the proposed expansion of the Long Island Railroad Tracks.

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported, those who live near the tracks and those who ride the rails are passionate about their positions.

The LIRR is part of the MTA and thus, controlled by the governor.

Along the main line, Governor Cuomo's vision for the railroad which involves building a third track, is not a popular one among many home and business owners.

"Our biggest beef is during the construction phase, 6 to 10 years will totally put me out of business," William Corbett, Citizens Against Rail Expansion, said.

Bill and Ann Corbett are part of a grassroots movement called Citizens Against Rail Expansion.

"Parking will be taken away. It will be scarce for our commuters, and I think it will really impact families," Ann said.

The proposed third track would cost more than a billion dollars and would run for about 10 miles between Floral Park and Hicksville. It will affect Bellrose, Stweart, Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Garden City, Mineola, and Westbury.

"Our biggest concern is that we will bear all the burden and derive none of the benefit," Floral Park Mayor Thomas Tweedy said.

Tweedy worries about noise, traffic, freight, and displacement details that are up in the air.

"The third track is going through some of the most densely populated and mature communities in western Nassau County, so eminent domain is certainly part of what the project will be," Tweedy said.

The governor said seizing property will be minimal.

He's confident that a third track would be a huge boost to the economy, deliver faster, more comfortable service, and lure more drivers out of their cars.

Many commuters like the idea.

"You need a third track here. The railroad is growing, more and more people are riding it," Babylon commuter Steve Quigley said.

"Maybe a third track is the best way to go, speed up your transportation," Sandra Laws said.

"Making a third track would definitely be beneficial to students who have to go into the city three to four times a week," Katie Spoleti added.

Thursday night's meeting is a chance for the local LIRR task force to give updates to the community and for residents to voice concerns. Hundreds are expected to attend.


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