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Hochul cites improved infrastructure for increased LIRR timeliness

Long Island Railroad - LIRR

Long Island Rail Road trains were more “on-time” over the past year than any other year in recorded history. This is the second consecutive year that the LIRR set a record.

Governor Kathy Hochul said, during the Long Island Association State of the Region Breakfast on Friday, spending more money on several infrastructure improvements helped reduce delays for New Yorkers.

“Long island was the best — 2021 was the best on time percentage since we started keeping track for 50 years: 96.3%, we're on time,” Hochul said. “How about that? That's what infrastructure can do. That's what infrastructure does for our commuters.”

The MTA launched the “LIRR Forward” in 2018 to improve reliability of the commuter rail. This included a second track on the Ronkonkoma Branch, eliminating crossings in Nassau County, cutting back vegetation and technological upgrades to reduce slippery rail conditions.

LIRR President Phillip Eng said the plan laid out the vision but he credited the LIRR workforce for making it a reality.

While performance has improved, the railroad still operates fewer trains and carries fewer riders due to the pandemic. Crowding has been one of the largest contributors to the delays in the past, and the number of passengers has decreased, a spokesperson said. Former MTA Chairman Patrick Foye told Newsday the LIRR’s unusually high on-time numbers were not representative of a normal operating environment.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.