July 17--Lawmakers Wednesday demanded the Metropolitan Transportation Authority provide shuttle bus services for Huntington commuters if the LIRR shuts down during a strike, calling the agency's current plan "unacceptable."
"When we look at the contingency plan that is being proposed by the MTA, Huntington and the North Shore . . . are woefully, inadequately represented," Suffolk County Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport) said at a news conference at the Huntington Station LIRR station.
The contingency plan for a Long Island Rail Road strike includes eight shuttle bus sites, but none are in the Town of Huntington.
"The MTA has not worked with the locals," said state Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset). "The MTA, I think, has dropped the ball."
Wednesday's demands came a day after the Southampton and East Hampton town supervisors called for bus service or other contingency plans on the East End, saying they were being ignored at the height of tourist season. The MTA plan states that buses will go only as far east as Ronkonkoma.
"It is an outrage that the MTA has sidetracked the East End riding public without providing bus service from stations on the North or South Fork," state Assemb. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) said at the news conference.
The appeal came as Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello raised concern about the MTA's ferry plans overwhelming that city's streets.
Spinello said Tuesday night that the MTA's plans to run three morning ferries with a combined capacity of 1,150 passengers from the city dock would overwhelm Glen Cove parking and traffic.
"All I want to do is one boat" and about 500 passengers, Spinello said. "I think we should only bite off what we can chew."
Deputy Mayor Barbara Peebles said the city is still negotiating with the MTA.
Agency spokesman Aaron Donovan said Wednesday that the MTA has acknowledged "it is impossible to replace the Long Island Rail Road."
Donovan said the current plan "is much more robust" than what the MTA had put together during the 1994 strike, and the agency expects to move three times more people than it did then.
"We have been working for months on this plan in consultation with state agencies, like the DOT [Department of Transportation], and elected officials from all levels of government across the Island," he said. With Ted Phillips
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