Saturday, November 22, 2008

LIRR Gap Fix Gap May Widen

Thanks to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's doomsday budget, it could take two years longer than planned to fix the gaps between station platforms and Long Island Rail Road commuter trains, Newsday reports. As part of a plan to eliminate 327 jobs by 2010, eight of the 28 positions assigned to the $20.7 million gap remediation project would be cut, as well. According to LIRR President Helena Williams, the move would extend the project completion date "a couple of years."

Between 1995 and 2007 there were 800 gap-related accidents on the Long Island Rail Road, according to Newsday. One claimed the life of Natalie Smead, a Minnesota teenager, who fell into a gap at the Woodside station and was struck by a train.

I agree with LIRR Commuters Council chairman Gerard Bringmann. Putting off completion of the project is "penny-wise and pound-foolish." One major lawsuit could easily wipe out any savings from the delays, and the decision could heighten the railroad's negligence, possibly putting in line for punitive damages.

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