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March 10th - 16th, 2018


Regional Updates

1st Equity Title

1st Equity National Title and Closing Services was established under the laws of New York and commenced business in 2003. Located in Melville, NY with offices in NJ and PA. They are a national title agency, licensed to do business across the country. They are local experts in the New York market, offering CEMA and Coop Search services along with a full suite of title insurance and related products nationwide. The organization has grown year over year due to a loyal client base as well as strategic acquisitions within the market. 

Their goal is to be a highly respected, compliant and best in class, national Title and Closing Services Company, delivering exceptional service to their clients. Their culture is client centric with a focus on supporting the growth of their clients as well as the surrounding community. Their approach to clients is “We do business the way you do business”.

"As millions of commuters can attest, the performance of the Long Island Rail Road has become unacceptable. On-time performance has fallen to the lowest level in nearly two decades, hurting riders. While Amtrak was a big factor behind the deterioration in service last year, the LIRR was responsible for more than twice as many delays. The MTA must ensure the LIRR has the resources it needs to provide reliable service and is managed effectively." - NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

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NYS Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Report on “Unacceptable” LIRR Delays in 2017

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released a scathing report for the Long Island Railroad’s 2017 performance, singling out delays as “unacceptable” for an estimated 9.2 million riders.

The report notes that the LIRR had its worst on-time performance in 18 years during 2017, which cost $75 million in lost productivity for the region.  During that period more than 19,200 trains were late, which was a 19% jump from the previous year.  Of those, more than 7,000 were over 10 minutes late and a little less than 3,500 were more than 15 minutes behind schedule.  This is in addition to the 1,400 trains canceled before departure, 767 canceled en route, and 195 late by more than an hour.

"As millions of commuters can attest, the performance of the Long Island Rail Road has become unacceptable," said DiNapoli. "On-time performance has fallen to the lowest level in nearly two decades, hurting riders. While Amtrak was a big factor behind the deterioration in service last year, the LIRR was responsible for more than twice as many delays. The MTA must ensure the LIRR has the resources it needs to provide reliable service and is managed effectively."

While there were factors outside the control of the LIRR such as Amtrak repairs and weather events, over 6,500 late, canceled, and terminated trains were found to be the fault of the LIRR.  That number is a 20% increase from the previous year and more than twice the 3,000 incidents determined to be caused by Amtrak.  The LIRR has stated that about a quarter of those are due to higher than expected customer demand, customers moving between trains at stops, or the limits of platform space at stations, causing trains to idle at stops for longer than normal.  More than two thirds were attributed to equipment failure.

You can read the full report here.

Funding Not Secured for Gateway Tunnel Project

In a move meant to pressure local lawmakers, the Trump administration is lobbying to kill funding for the Gateway Project in hopes that it will encourage officials from NJ and NY to find fresh sources of revenue.

The Gateway program is a sprawling $12.7 billion project that will look to double rail capacity between Newark and New York City by building new bridges, laying two new sets of track, and expanding NYC’s Penn station.  The part of the plan in contention is funding for a new tunnel that will go under the Hudson and will help to absorb capacity when old tunnels are shut down for repairs.  The Gateway Program Development Corp, who submitted the plan, has stated that delays in funding will raise the cost and a crucial deadline for funding in 2019 could cripple the project if it’s not met.

“I need to have all my building blocks lined up during 2018 to hit summer 2019,” said Frank Sacr, the program’s interim finance director. “It’s not like turning a light on in 18 month’s time.”

New York and New Jersey have committed to paying 50% of the cost for the tunnel, but the federal government is protesting in order to get the states to pay more.  The administration has also taken exception to the fact that the state’s side of funding will be made up primarily of federal loans, claiming that it’s asking the feds to cover the cost of the entire project.  Lawmakers are adamant that an agreement was reached with the Obama administration and that they are simply trying to abide by that.

The situation has led lawmakers to complain that the president is singling out the project in an effort punish and embarrass Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) or to create leverage for his own agenda.  Meanwhile, the administration is stating that the agreement with Obama’s administration is not binding and that NJ and NY must come up with additional money beyond 50% if they want the federal government to provide any funds.  President Trump has personally lobbied to have current funding removed from the budget and is threatening to veto the entire bill and set up a government shutdown if it’s included. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) has told the NY and NJ House delegation that they must work out their difference with the Trump administration or else the funding might be pulled to ensure passage.

The lack of funding for this project is another reminder of the many unmet infrastructure needs facing our region's transit systems.

You can read more here and here.

Nassau County Seeks RFPs for Aqueduct Connecting Bay Park to Cedar Creek

Nassau’s plan to use a century old aqueduct to pump effluent from Bay Park to the Cedar Creek wastewater management plant took a big step forward this past week.

After a recent public meeting to present updates to the community, the County has put out a call for engineers to find the best way to complete the Ocean Outfall Diversity Plan.  The goal is to reroute treated effluent award from Bay Park in order to dilute dumping and lower nitrogen concentrations.  The Plan will look to use the 112 year old Sunrise aqueduct, which had previously been used in the early 1900s to pump water from Long Island to NYC. 

The project is estimated to cost $350 million, but bonds and grants will cover most of the cost.  New funding will need to be found to complete the project, but the County is confident it can do so.  Alternative proposals deemed as too expensive included a new outfall pipe from Bay Park to the ocean, tunneling an underground pipe below Long Beach, building a denitrification plant, and an energy-intensive solution to reduce the concentration of nitrogen being dumped into the Western Bays from 17 parts per million to two parts per million

Bay Park Treatment Plant currently dumps 52 million gallons of nitrogen laden effluent into the Western Bays, which is having adverse effects on local marine life marshes, which erodes natural barriers to coastal flooding.  Cedar Creek, on the other hand, has the capacity for 240 million gallons of effluent per day with only 57 million gallons currently being processed.  The ocean outfall pipe for Cedar Creek also stretches 3 miles out into the ocean as opposed to local Bays.

The process for repurposing the pipe will involve inserting a new, smaller polyethylene pipe within the existing 72-inch steel pipe below Sunrise Highway.  The new pipe will eliminate leaks, which was a concern for some residents.  Engineers looking to submit proposals will also need to find the best way to construct a pair of two-mile pipes to connect the aqueduct to Bay Park and Cedar Creek.

You can read more here.

Empire State Development Provides $14 Million in Investments

New York’s business-aid agency has reportedly spent more than $14 million to help the local economy, mostly through support of local-sourced technology startups.

The investment from Empire State Development took place during a 12 month period from April 2016 through the end of March 2017.  During the time the agency allocated $1.8 billion in statewide loans, tax credits, and grants.  A majority of that money went to shore up financially struggling areas in upstate New York, but Long Island was one of the top recipients in funds used to spur startups.  Long Island also came in second to New York City for money used in small business training.

Stony Brook University alone received $3.1 million as part of the ESD’s Center for Advanced Technology, which focuses on incubators.  Those funds helped to generate over $30 million in economic activity back in 2015 and created 367 jobs during that same year.  Another area where Long Island excelled was support for research projects conducted by college professors.  The University has three centers that are focused on biotechnology, electric energy systems, and sensors, all of which benefited from the funding. 

A breakdown of the $14 million in funding includes $3.1 million for Centers for Advanced Technology (business incubators); $3 million for Regional Economic Development Councils Capital Fund (grants for building projects); $1.1 million for the Excelsior Jobs Program (tax credits for expanding companies); $750,000 allocated to the Transformative Economic Development Program; $695,000 in Restore NY grants to local governments; $499,963 for Centers for Excellence (business incubators); $305,550 to Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (grants to train small business owners); $205,773 for tourism promotions.

You can read more here.

Lindenhurst Holds Downtown Revitalization Kick-Off Press Conference

Vision was out earlier this week in the Village of Lindenhurst at a press conference kicking off some of their many downtown revitalization efforts.  While Lindenhurst is now one of dozens of communities across Long Island making changes to their downtowns they are doing it organically and in a bottom up fashion guided by the local community.  The Village will look to use available grant funding to accomplish the projects and move the downtown forward.

It was great to see hear from the many new businesses that are opening as well as the new development on the horizon.  Kudos to Village Mayor Mike Lavorata, Deputy Mayor Maryann Weckerle, Trustees Rj Renna, Joan Masterson and Darrel Kost, Town of Babylon Supervisor Richie Schaffer, Councilman Anthony Manetta and of course Suffolk Legislator Kevin McCaffey for their leadership in making these changes happen. 

Special thanks to RJ Renna for asking Vision Long Island to be a part of this great event.

Long Island Business Council to Hold Meeting Wednesday, March 21st - Snow Date: April 12th

The Long Island Business Council will hold a meeting on Wednesday, March 21st to discuss important prorgams and initiatives in both Counties. The meeting will feature Presiding Officers Richard Nicolello of the Nassau County Legislature and DuWayne Gregory of Suffolk County Legislature. John Keating of PSEG Long Island will also speak on the new energy company's new Vacant Properties and Main Street Revitalization programs. Nasau County Executive Laura Curran will give welcoming remarks at the event as well.

To RSVP or for more information you can download a flyer here, call 877-811-7471, or email ck@visionlongisland.org.

Please Join us for the 2018 Complete Streets Summit on Thursday, April 5th

The Long Island Complete Streets Coalition will be holding the 2018 Complete Streets Summit on Thursday, April 5th. The event will feature a robust agenda of speakers and discussion on how to create streets that are not just safe, but also attractive, interesting, and built for people, can help improve our well-being and quality of life.

While last year’s summit focused on the top five roads that are “hot spots” for crashes, this year we are widening our net to look at locations all across Long Island that are dangerous for those on foot or on a bicycle. Whether it is an entire stretch of road, or just a specific intersection, we will draw attention to places around the island that need to be improved in order to make our streets safe for all users. Currently we aren’t even reaching the most basic level of safety in many places which is the most fundamental aspect of walkability. Beyond basic levels of safety, many of our streets in and around our downtowns have the potential to be so much more than they are. Streets make up the majority of publicly owned space in many communities. Creating streets that are also places, streets with “Walk Appeal,” can add value to communities for both businesses and residents.

Please contact us at 631-261-0242 for more information. You can register for the event here.

Sustainability Institute to Screen The Age of Consequences on Wednesday, April 11th

The Sustainability Institute at Molloy College is proud to announce and invite you to our 23rd Sustainable Living Film Series screening on Wednesday April 11th, 2018 from 6:00 - 9:30pm. ***The film series is typically hosted on Thursdays, but please note that this screening is being held on a Wednesday***

RSVP REQUIRED before event day.

$10 admission in advance. $15 at the door. Purchase tickets here. Admission includes the film, buffet dinner, and discussion following the film. All are welcome, so share this event and invite friends and family.

Car-Less Long Island to Host 3rd Annual Bike-to-Work Parade on Saturday, April 28th

On April 28th, Car-Less Long Island will be hosting its 3rd Annual Bike-to-Work Parade along a 6.5 mile loop around Eisenhower Park that will begin and end at Hofstra’s North Campus.  There will be a police escort for safe riding. (See the map of bike route here and map of Hofstra here). There is a 1.9-mile walking route for those who want to see a more walk-able and bike-able Long Island, but do not want to bike themselves or are not ready to bike a 6.5 mile loop. There is also a short cut to a 1.5-mile route. (See a map of the full and short walking routes here. You can also see it on the Hofstra campus map here).  After the parade will be the bike to work festival with music, speakers, prizes, and fun for the whole family!

For more information on how to register, a flyer for the event, instructions on how to volunteer, and more, you can visit here.

PinkTie to Host 6th Annual PinkTie.org Event on Monday, June 11th

The PinkTie organization will be holding its 6th Annual PinkTie 1000 event to benefit Stony Brook Children’s Hospital this coming June 11th from 6:00 to 11:00 pm.  The event will take place at the Carltun in Eisenhower Park and will include a raffle with a grand prize of a brand new BMW i8.

You can visit PinkTie’s website for more information here.

Boring Co. CEO Elon Musk Says Hyperloop Will Put Pedestrians, Mass Transit First

The Boring Company, an infrastructure and tunnel construction company founded by Elon Musk in late 2016, has a new focus. Earlier this week, Mr. Musk took to Twitter to let the world know that the company will prioritize mass transportation over individual vehicle usage. According to Musk, the Boring Company’s tunnels will “prioritize pedestrians & cyclists over cars.” He didn’t say that the tunnels would never support cars, but he believes that surrounding communities will benefit most if the Boring Company focuses on mass transportation. The tunnels are part of a vision by the Company to install hi-speed transit loops around the country.

Corporate leadership prioritizing mass transit and other alternatives is critical to changing public polic and addressing new technologies.

You can read more here.

Smart Talk

Editor:
Christopher Kyle, Communications Director

Contributors:
Eric Alexander, Director; Tawaun Weber, Assistant Director;
Elissa Kyle, Planning Director; Jon Siebert, Program Coordinator

We strive to provide continued quality publications like this every week. If you have any news or events that you would like to add to our newsletter, submit them to info@visionlongisland.org for consideration.

If you are interested in becoming a newsletter or news blast sponsor, please call the office at 631-261-0242 for rates and opportunities.

Vision Long Island
24 Woodbine Ave., Suite Two
Northport, NY 11768
Phone: 631-261-0242. Fax: 631-754-4452.
Email: info@visionlongisland.org

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