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Suffolk Notebook: Bellone Pitches North-South Bus Lines

County executive pushes development, but says the year has already seen its share of big news.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone this week laid out several economic development plans meant to spur business in central Suffolk County.

In a meeting with media outlets, Bellone said that would quickly shuttle commuters from the North Shore communities to the South Shore.

It's a project that fits right in with the Ronkonkoma Hub project, which is designed to hopefully transform the ramshackle business zone surrounding the Ronkonkoma Long Island Rail Road station into a more vibrant area where industry can dig deeper roots on Long Island.

The bus system would link the tech-heavy Stony Brook area with Ronkonkoma and Patchogue.

The county executive, who faces a major budget crisis in Suffolk County, also said he intends to propose a new railroad track linking Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma.

Bellone also revealed a plan to add a second railroad track that would run from Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale and service local commuters.

"Adding a second track will make intra-island commuting possible," Bellone said.

County Exec: State Delegation Delivered
Bellone this week shot a bit of love at Long Island's delegation in Albany, highlighting a few measures he said would pay off for the region.

For example, Bellone touted Albany's move to expand the red light camera program, a move that'll add cameras to 50 addition intersections in the county.

It's a program not often loved by locals, many of whom say the systems are unfair while yellow light times still vary at different intersections.

The program could yield up to $6 million annually for the county.

Suffolk's chief executive also praised a new state law that'll allow the county to regulate taxis and limousines, ensuring consumers aren't being overcharged and licensed companies carry insurance, use only inspected vehicles in good repair, screens operators for driver competency and performs criminal background checks before issuing licenses.

Petition Forms to Fight Beach Fees
While the county has backed off its plan to at Beach in Hampton Bays, its determination to charge such fees at Cupsogue Beach in Westhampton and Smith's Point in Mastic has spurred an online petition to stop the new fees.

The petition, created by Mastic Beach resident Estelle Albertina, showed up on Care2thepetitionsite.com, and has picked up nearly 900 signatures as of Friday.

The county is hoping the $4 fee for cars after 5 p.m. will bring in much-needed cash, but locals say they've essentially taken away the opportunity for working families to enjoy the beach a few hours at the end of the day without taxing their own family budgets.

John Rooney July 01, 2012 at 06:31 PM
The County Exec is on the right track! Improved public transit in the long run stimulates the economy and reduces the need for very expensive public road expansion and private gasoline costs, not to mention the air quality and energy consumption benefits to us all.
Kathleen Cunningham July 01, 2012 at 07:37 PM
County Executive Bellone is demonstrating the kind of visionary leadership our public transportation system has long been lacking. Suffolk County is a diverse region with differing population and commercial densities which require an 'intra-regional' solution. The old MTA commuter model doesn't work so well for mid-County residents and businesses and is completely inadequate for the East End. Creative thinking for public transportation options will help address the transportation needs of Suffolk's residents and businesses alike. Five Town Rural Transit proposed a workable rail and bus network, validated by the USDOT Volpe Center, that could help inform some west end transportation choices. It's not rocket science - just takes planning and political will. 5TRT has long supported better bus and rail connectivity and transportation options for all of Suffolk County and applauds the County Executive's efforts.
Ranger Sewer July 02, 2012 at 11:52 AM
If there was a need for this, a Business would have done this a long time ago.
Jack White July 02, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I belive you're right, Mr. Sewer. Check out this article. http://thehuntingtonian.com/2012/04/12/hart-bus-at-115-per-rider-per-day-its-no-joke/
jared July 02, 2012 at 09:01 PM
just one problem, who wants to ride a bus on long island

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