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L.I. Mayors Upset Over Study On Planned LIRR Third Track

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Mayors in three communities that would be affected by the Long Island rail Road third track have released their own study of the project.

"We feel this is going to be very intrusive," said Garden City Mayor Nicholas Episcopia.

As WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reported, Episcopia is upset over the recent study commissioned by the three communities – Garden City, Floral Park, and New Hyde Park – that would be affected by the LIRR third track project.

Episcopia said he is worried about the lack of soil testing.

"There was talk that Agent Orange was used on some of the tracks to prevent foliage," Episcopia said.

Also of concern is the effect on the properties near the project.

"Real estate brokers have told me that people who want to sell homes adjacent to the tracks or close to them can't sell them," Episcopia said.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Shams Tarek replied: "It's not surprising that a report commissioned by a mayor who has been a longtime opponent of this project would draw certain conclusions. That said, we welcome all public comments."

Thousands of people have also thrown their support behind the project. In January, supporters collected 4,500 signatures from LIRR riders.

The $2 billion plan was first unveiled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year. It would construct a 10-mile track between Floral Park and Hicksville and would take three or four years to build.

Project leaders say they hope to begin construction on the third track by the end of this year.

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