FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM OCTOBER 8, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 25
oped letters & comments
VIEW FROM THE LONG ISLAND EXPRESSWAY // PHOTO SUBMITTED BY JAVIER FOJO
Send us your photos of Queens and you could see them online or in our paper! To submit them to us, tag @qnsgram on Instagram,
visit our Facebook page, tweet @QNS or email email@example.com (subject: Queens Snaps).
Thanks to LIRR
workforce for keeping
BY PHILLIP ENG
Th ere aren’t enough
thanks I could give the
LIRR workforce for all
the eff orts and strides
made over the past
six months to keep
our region safe, and
to keep Long Island
And that goes for you, too — the public — for
doing your part in helping us stop the spread.
But as we see clusters of COVID-19 positive
cases popping up in communities around the
New York metropolitan area, it’s important that
we stay vigilant. We must continue to protect
It was with a heavy heart that I shared the
news Friday with colleagues that a member of
the LIRR family, Kyle Fulcher, succumbed to
COVID-19 on Oct. 1. Kyle joined the LIRR
almost two decades ago, working fi rst as an electrician,
and more recently as a training specialist.
Upon learning of Kyle’s positive COVID test,
we moved quickly to protect the health and safety
of those who worked with him. I hope you’ll
join me in keeping Kyle’s family in your thoughts
As circumstances continue to evolve in our
work lives and our personal lives, with many
children across our region returning to in-person
school instruction, we must continue to
practice everything we’ve been doing, both at
work and at home: wearing masks, washing
hands, using hand sanitizer, giving each other
extra space when we’re able to, and staying home
if we don’t feel well.
Riding public transportation remains a safe
way to get around. We’re doing our part to keep
it that way with increased cleaning and disinfection
eff orts at stations and on our trains, and
handing out masks to riders who need one.
Now we need fi nal enactment of the second
HEROES Act passed by the House Th ursday
night to ensure our region continues to have
critically robust and safe public transportation
as we rebuild.
Since the height of the fi rst wave of COVID-
19 through New York, there has been much talk
about preventing a second wave, which some
experts have said is inevitable. But it doesn’t have
to be, if we stay smart.
Don’t let down your guard. Everything we did
to fl atten the curve is even more vital now. We
cannot lose sight of all the losses we’ve already
incurred and all the suff ering that’s gone on.
We owe it to everyone to do our best to avoid a
surge in new cases. And it’s important to remember
that you, yes you, have the power to stem this
virus and help save lives. We must all contribute
to this eff ort.
Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay home if
you’re sick. It’s not complicated, but it is imperative.
Stay tough, New York.
Phillip Eng is president of MTA Long Island
SERVICE CUTS AND
MTA Chairman Pat Foye’s threats to
include a 40 percent reduction in bus
and subway service, along with a 50
percent cut in LIRR and Metro-North
Railroad service, have risks. We may
see fare increases above and beyond
the previously scheduled 4 percent
in 2021. Th is was part of the $51
billion 2020-2024 Five-Year Capital
Plan funding assumptions. Unless he
receives $12 billion more in funding
from Washington, they could become
Signifi cant service cuts or fare
hikes require a public hearing process.
As a recipient of Federal Transit
Administration funding, the MTA has
to be in compliance with federal Title
IV and other Civil Rights requirements.
Service cuts can’t have an adverse
impact on minority, low-income and
physically disabled communities. Th e
process would require a series of public
hearings in all fi ve boroughs and
surrounding suburban counties MTA
service areas. It would take the MTA
several months from start to fi nish for
this process and it would be subject
to FTA, City Hall and Albany review.
Th ese service reductions would
require the MTA to update their FTA
bus, subway and commuter rail fl eet
management plans. FTA would want
to insure that the MTA still has the
fi nancial resources to maintain all
assets, so they reach the intended useful
If these service cuts were to take
place, hundreds to several thousand
bus, subway and commuter rail cars
might no longer be needed for passenger
service. Keeping 100 percent
of the current fl eets in service would
result in excessive spare equipment.
Th is defeats goals of cost savings.
NYC Transit has a fl eet of 6,400 subway
cars. NYC Transit, Manhattan and
Bronx Surface Operating Authority
and MTA Bus have a combined fl eet
of 5,710 buses; Long Island Rail Road
has a fl eet of 1,151; Metro North has
a fl eet of 1,268; and Staten Island
Railway has a fl eet of 61 vehicles.
Most of the NYC Transit subway and
a signifi cant number of bus and commuter
rail fl eets are federally funded.
Such equipment no longer needed for
passenger service as a result of major
service reductions would require FTA
permission to be temporarily mothballed
in a safe, secure location
Th e useful life clock for equipment
would be frozen. Th e equipment still
has to be maintained. Th e useful
life clock starts once the equipment
resumes transit service.
Another option is transfer of equipment
no longer needed to another
transit agency to remain in transit service.
Th is transaction would require
FTA grant amendments between the
MTA and new transit agency recipients
for transfer of the federally funded
equipment in question.
Both transit agencies have to update
their required Biannual Certifi cation
for Assurance of Federally Funded
Equipment worth over $5,000 to show
that it has been accounted for and is
being maintained in transit service.
Th is process takes several months.
A third alternative based upon
straight line depreciation determines
current value of the equipment in
question. Th e MTA would have to
buy out the FTA for federal share of
the remaining value. Th e MTA would
own 100 percent of the remaining
value, would be free to sell this surplus
equipment and keep the proceeds.
Th e MTA Board has a legal and
fi duciary responsibility to protect the
interests of both commuters and taxpayers.
Has Foye shared this information
with the MTA board, city,
state and federal elected offi cials? Has
Foye had any discussions with his local
FTA Region 2 or Washington on all
these proposals to seek federal guidance
Larry Penner, Great Neck
President Donald Trump and the
fi rst lady have tested positive for
Th e president was admitted to the
hospital at Walter Reed National
Military Medical Center out of an
abundance of caution. As such, I ask
all Americans to pray for our president,
no matter if we agree with him or not.
President Trump is a human being,
but he is also a leader in the free world
and deserves our respect and prayers.
Th is is a disease that has killed many
people across the globe and does not
care if we are rich, poor, old or young.
So please pray for a speedy recovery
for President Trump and the fi rst lady.
And please pray for all of America and
its fi ght against this most insidious disease
that has made many sick and have
taken so many lives.
God bless you President Trump and
may God bless America and help us in
our hour of need.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Bellerose