Written by Jaclyn Gallucci Saturday, 05 October 2013 00:00
A new study of Long Island’s trains has culminated in a “Laggy” win by the Port Jefferson Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, which runs through Mineola. The “Laggy” awards were given this month to branches of the LIRR with the greatest lost economic productivity, delay per rider and lost time, as a tongue-in-cheek way of getting additional capital investment in local rails from state legislators.
“LIRR’s frequent delays truly add up to lost economic productivity and commuter time over the course of a year,” said Ben Rosenblatt, the research fellow for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, who conducted the analysis. “In fact, estimates of total lost productivity are greater than last year’s profits of some of Long Island’s largest companies, such as VOXX International, Nathan’s, and 1-800 FLOWERS.”
Disruptions in service on the Babylon, Ronkonkoma and Huntington branches contributed the most to lost productivity, according to Rosenblatt. However, the Port Jefferson line, along with the Montauk and Ronkonkoma, provided the greatest levels of delay per rider.
Delays over the course of one year added up to 22.3 hours for each rider. Tri-State used MTA-provided ridership, on-time performance, and other lateness, termination, and cancellation data, along with 2010 Census-derived income assumptions regarding the value of lost time, to develop the Laggy award methodology.
While the awards identify branches, the actual recipients of LIRR funds are New York State’s elected officials who approve funding for the system and are responsible for ensuring dedicated transit funds make their way to the MTA system and are not diverted to other uses.
“As discussions begin on how to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 2015-2019 Capital Program begin in a few months, it is imperative that Long Island’s elected officials in both the New York State Assembly and Senate identify the funding needed to ensure the Long Island Rail Road is in a state of good repair,” said Ryan Lynch, associate director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Not doing so will only continue to negatively impact the Island’s economy and put further strain on regional and local businesses.”
The report called on Governor Cuomo and Long Island’s state elected officials to fully fund the 2015-2019 MTA Capital Program.
“When you waste folks’ time it really is death by a thousand cuts,” said Eric Alexander, executive director of Vision Long Island. “In order to provide efficient transportation options for people, the current LIRR rail system and operations needs strategic investment and upgrades.”
The study found the total lost economic productivity due to late, canceled and terminated trains on the Long Island Rail Road from July 2012 through June 2013 was $60,760,661.
Planning for the next capital program of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, of which LIRR is a subsidiary agency, will begin this fall.