For the latest in petty isolationist obstructionism, we need look no further than Long Island. As I noted last week, Thomas Prendergast’s nomination to head up the MTA seemed to be stalled as the State Senate has taken no action, and today, we’ve learned why. According to a Daily News report, Senator Charles Fuschillo is holding the Prendergast appointment due to fears over LIRR slots being cut from Penn Station in 2019.
For his part, Fuschillo denied such claims to Pete Donohue and is meeting with Prendergast today. The LI Republican says a vote could still come before the Senate breaks for the summer on June 20, but if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it usually is a duck. In fact, this isn’t Fuschillo’s first time bemoaning Penn Station Access. He voiced his opposition to it in May, and I remain incredulous at this Long Island response.
Penn Station Access — the plan to bring some Metro-North trains to Penn — will come into play once East Side Access is ready. Then, East Side-bound LIRR passengers will take advantage of the new midtown terminal while West Siders will head to Penn Station. With the Grand Central terminal relieving Penn of some LIRR trains, the MTA can better distribute riders from Westchester and points north. The entire region will benefit, but Fuschillo and his Long Island brethren can’t see beyond their enclave to the east. And so we wait, ridiculously, for Prendergast to whisper sweet nothings to the head of the Senate Transportation Committee while the nomination remains in limbo.