No one at the MTA, LIRR or any elected official ever wants to talk about the real full cost for Long Island Rail Road East Side Access to Grand Central Terminal, which may be closer to $15 billion.
This includes other items which are considered indirect and carried off line from the official $10.8 billion project budget (which, according to the USDOT Federal Transit Administration MTA Full Funding Grant Agreement, could grow to $12 billion upon project completion).
These are financing charges ($600 million), additional capacity improvements at Jamaica LIRR station ($450 million), along with numerous capital improvements east of Jamaica.
They include construction of several thousand additional parking spots for new riders at numerous stations, new bus feeder services to stations, construction of new stations, completion of the Ronkonkoma branch double tracking between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma ($450 million), Main Line Third Track between Floral Park and Hicksville ($2 billion), new pocket tracks on other branches, new Huntington/Port Jefferson branch storage yard ($400 million), capacity expansion to other storage yards, purchase of additional rolling stock and even more capital projects which will support implementation of ESA.
Without all of the above, the LIRR will not be able to achieve 100 percent utilization of this investment including the promise of 24 trains per hour during peak service period.
Larry Penner is a transportation historian and advocate who previously worked 31 years for the US Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office
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