Since April 2005, I have served as chairman of the Third Track Task Force. Therefore, the announcement that the proposed 2010-2015 MTA Capital Planning Budget specifically excludes funding for either the construction or future planning for the Third Track Expansion Project is heartening. This validates the efforts of thousands of citizens, hundreds of organizations and dozens of communities who joined as one voice in complete and total opposition to the seismic change this project would have had on our lives. Our opposition was relentless, chronicled by thousands of letters, petitions, e-mails, media releases and attendance at public scoping sessions where hundreds more provided testimony. We the people let our elected representatives know, at every level of government, of our reasoned opposition not only to this project, but ironically, to funding the diminution of our homes’ value and the destruction of our quality of life. Perhaps the MTA, a public authority, underestimated the strength of organized opposition based upon our fundamental sense of fairness. This was a modern day David vs. Goliath.
My thanks go to many; those elected representatives who listened to their constituents, supported us and acted, to our Main Line sister villages and communities that stayed the course these five long years and the hundreds of citizen-volunteers, who unselfishly gave of their time, talents and treasure. Unquestionably, this outcome would never have happened without them, but I am especially proud of my fellow Floral Park residents. I believe it was we, the residents of Floral Park, who often took the lead coordinating the opposition, expediting the logistics and acting decisively against this billion dollar boondoggle promoted by the high priced lobbyists.
This is great news, but we must not forget that the MTA is a perpetual authority. The DEIS for the Third Track remains in the custody of the FTA in downtown New York. Therefore, we must remain vigilant; continue to monitor the activities of the MTA, its 20-year non-binding capital planning budget and to keep our elected representatives accountable for the MTA’s future plans. Again, my deepest gratitude to you, my neighbors and friends, for keeping Floral Park a great place to live.
Thomas J. Tweedy, Trustee, Floral Park
Chairman Third Track Task Force