Back in December of 2016, Joseph T. Brown, regional director of the New York State Department of Transportation, released a letter dated stating that in order to construct the LIRR third track, property owned by the Village of Garden City adjacent to the construction sites could be temporarily or permanently acquired by a Memorandum of Understanding, or eminent domain.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) specifically states that three parcels of Garden City land on the south side of the New Hyde Park Rail Road station will be acquired by eminent domain. Potentially, the LIRR/MTA could also acquire additional village properties through eminent domain.
According to Assemblyman Ed Ra and state Senator Kemp Hannon new state budget is now being reviewed and the $2 billion for the LIRR Expansion Project, is not in it. Ra and Hannon believe that the governor will somehow try to “shoehorn” the money into the existing MTA Capital Plan.
Any changes in the use of funds would require the unanimous approval of the Capital Plan Approval Board. The MTA Capital Plan Approval Board consists of one person from the Assembly, one from the Senate, one appointed by the mayor of New York City and one appointed by the governor.
If the governor attempts to do this project using federal money, the federal environmental requirements are far more stringent than those of New York State. The project would then require an entirely new Environmental Impact Study.
While the LIRR/MTA and governor’s representatives claim that the $2 billion, nine-mile third track benefits the local communities and boost service for reverse commuters, only one additional train will be added during the eastbound morning rush hour and one during the westbound evening rush hour.
According to the Garden City Patch, village residents and environmental counsel prepared a response to Mr. Brown’s letter requesting that Garden City be informed as to which parcels are being considered for either temporary or permanent acquisition.