Since 1838, Nobody Covers Huntington News Better Than The Long-Islander.|Thursday, April 24, 2014
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The Price Of Being Late 

A Tri-State Transportation Campaign study of lost economic activity due to late and canceled trains says delays on the Huntington LIRR branch cost the regional economy more than $9.8 million.

Huntington branch delays: $9.8M impact

The Huntington Long Island Rail Road branch won bronze in an inaugural award presented by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. Unfortunately, it’s not an award anyone wants.

A study by the nonprofit shows that late, canceled and terminated trains on the Huntington branch resulted in the loss of $9.8 million in economic productivity from July 2012-June 2013. That’s the third worst of Long Island’s 11 branches, earning the Huntington branch the bronze “Laggy” award. Overall, late, canceled and terminated trains cost Long Island more than $60 million in economic activity, the report reads.

Using MTA data, the council calculated the number of hours lost to delays. They then multiplied that figure by what one hour of the average commuter’s time is worth to the economy. The average hourly rate was derived using census income data for Suffolk and Nassau County railroad riders. The calculation was weighted based on ridership and on-time performance data.

The gold medal went to the Babylon branch.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, which is dedicated to reducing car dependency in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, was expected to release the findings Thursday morning during a press conference at the Hicksville LIRR hub.

Ryan Lynch, the associate director of the Transportation Campaign and its Long Island coordinator, said the study is not aimed at the Long Island Rail Road – but at the state elected officials who fund it.

“Most of the report is focused on ensuring that our elected officials are responsibly funding the next [2015-2019] MTA capital program,” he said.

The organization urges the MTA to improve online reporting to the public so they know why trains are canceled.

They also suggest funding the Double Track project between Ronkonkoma and Farmingdale, and the Third Track project, which would add a track to the main line from Floral Park to Hicksville. That would improve service locally because the Huntington branch feeds into that main line, Lynch said.

In addition to increased signal funding, the council is also pushing for more WiFi access on trains and platforms.

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