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Monday, December 22, 2014
Expanding the Long Island Rail Road
2013 L.I. Index looks to the future of our rail system

In the coming years, the Long Island Rail Road could help reshape Long Island and turn it into an economic powerhouse.

That’s the theme of the 2013 Long Island Index Report. For 10 years now, the Index has been profiling the area and providing information for businesses, citizens, governments and more. It tries to measure where Long Island is now and show trends over time, encourage regional thinking and use

comparisons to areas similar to Long Island to show how the area can grow.

This year’s report, “How the Long Island Rail Road Could Shape the Next Economy,” focuses on how the LIRR has played a huge role in the growth of Long Island and how it will continue to play an important role in the future with its planned expansions,

including the East Side Access project.

“The Long Island Rail Road is one of Long Island’s most important and least understood assets,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation, which publishes in the Index report. “The 2013 Long Island Index presents many of the facts that highlight the railroad’s potential, and it provides a guide to an important, open and transparent discussion of the role of public transit in Long Island’s economy and future.”

The LIRR was first chartered in 1834 and connected to Manhattan via Penn Station in 1910. But since that time, the reach and capacity of the railroad has remained unchanged.

In 2011, the LIRR moved about 80 million people. It was only recently surpassed by Metro-North Railroad in terms of ridership. Today, 30 percent of Nassau residents commute to the city for work, and a third of them take the LIRR. One out of every four dollars of income earned by Long Islanders is brought home from jobs in New York City.

But through population explosions, ridership increases and technological breakthroughs, the LIRR has not expanded its reach or rail capacity since 1910. With a price tag of $8.2 billion, the East Side Access project is the largest transportation project in the country.

The East Side Access project is set to change that. By expanding the LIRR so that it connects to Grand Central Station, it will give Long Islanders access to the largest

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