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Columnists

We Deserve Better From the MTA and LIRR

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is a critical part of New York’s transportation infrastructure, providing an essential link between Long Island and New York City. However, the LIRR’s outdated, slow, and noisy diesel locomotives have long been a problem, and they pour immense amounts of harmful gases into the air. The non-electrified tracks of the Long Island Railroad are a testament to neglect and a sad reminder of a time when progress was measured in horse-drawn carriages and kerosene lamps. It’s high time we leave these tracks behind and embrace a future that’s worthy of the 21st century.

The diesel locomotives used by the LIRR are outdated and inefficient. They are slow, loud, and polluting. These locomotives are relics of a bygone era when diesel fuel was cheap, and the environment was not a significant concern. But times have changed, and so must the LIRR. It is not just a matter of modernizing the system; it is a matter of survival. The LIRR must electrify all its tracks to remain relevant and competitive. On the Long Island Railroad, the non-electrified tracks are primarily located on the eastern end of the Island, east of the Ronkonkoma station. The diesel-powered trains run on the partially electrified Montauk, Oyster Bay, and Port Jefferson branches of the Long Island Railroad. In contrast, the electrified tracks are found primarily in the western portion of Long Island, including the Babylon, Hempstead, West Hempstead, Long Beach, Far Rockaway, and Ronkonkoma branches.

Electrification of the LIRR tracks will bring several benefits. Firstly, it will help to reduce pollution and make the system more environmentally friendly. Diesel locomotives are notorious for polluting the air, and electrification will help to eliminate these harmful emissions. Secondly, electric trains are faster, quieter, and more efficient than diesel trains. The faster speeds would make the system more attractive to riders, especially those who are commuting long distances. Additionally, electric trains are more reliable than diesel trains, which would help to reduce delays and improve the overall performance of the system. Electric trains are less prone to breakdowns, require less maintenance, and are more cost-effective to operate, which means that the LIRR would be able to provide more consistent and reliable service to its customers.

It is not just the LIRR that needs to modernize. America, as a whole, is falling behind the rest of the developed world in infrastructure. Countries such as France, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, and Germany have all invested heavily in modernizing their transportation systems, and it is high time that the United States does the same. The failure to invest in infrastructure is not just a matter of convenience; it is a matter of national security.

The United States, as a nation , must invest in mass transit infrastructure, not just widening roads and expanding highways, if it wants to remain competitive in the 21st century. The choice is clear; either modernize or be left behind.

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