The Third Track project would add an additional track to the LIRR Main Line beginning just east of Floral Park station to Hicksville. The project would offer reverse commuters, an increasingly vital force in Long Island’s economy, more frequent service, provide a passing lane to get around stalled trains and allow LIRR commuters to take full advantage of the East Side Access project to Grand Central Terminal and the proposed Jamaica station capacity improvements. Part of the project includes eliminating several grade crossings along the LIRR line, reducing local traffic congestion and addressing safety issues.
The project began its environmental review in 2005, but has stalled because of lack of funding and local community opposition. However, outside of the directly impacted communities, the project enjoys wide support on Long Island as evidenced by a 2008 election year questionnaire issued by Tri-State. Ninety percent of state elected officials who responded supported the investment. The current 2010-2014 MTA Capital Program includes approximately $200 million in Third Track related funding, but fails to fund the project through its implementation.
While the MTA and LIRR have stated that they are still committed to the project, it is anticipated that because of the delay, the agencies will need to redo components of the environmental review process, adding greater cost to the project.