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Elected officials call on MTA to electrify LIRR’s Port Jefferson line

Adam Moss

A bipartisan group has urged the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to electrify the Port Jefferson branch of the Long Island Rail Road. The railway currently runs on diesel.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine said the move would modernize the railway and reduce the LIRR’s carbon emissions.

“We just saw a train pass. It is fueled by diesel fuel, some of the most polluting fuel that we have,” Romaine said.

Advocates said the $10 billion given to the MTA through federal infrastructure spending could help pay for the electrification of the 24-mile line between Huntington and Port Jefferson. The LIRR previously estimated the cost could be $18 million per mile.

Janno Lieber, the MTA chairman, told Newsday that it is a significant investment to electrify the branch, and it needs to be justified.

State Assemblymember Steve Englebright said electrification is important to help reduce climate change impacts.

“It's important that we not encourage continued problems with climate change, and one way to do that is remove the diesels and electrify,” Englebright said.

Electrifying the Port Jefferson branch would also improve service, which could boost Suffolk County's economy by allowing for more job opportunities and increasing enrollment at Stony Brook University.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.