Thursday, October 22, 2009

New York MTA hires consultant for North Shore study

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Whether trains or buses will roll along the abandoned North Shore Rail right-of-way on Staten Island will be decided in the coming months, after the MTA said it has hired a consultant to evaluate the options, the Website SILive.com reports. SYSTRA Engineering, Inc., was chosen to conduct the study at a cost of just under $1.5 million. The company has done previous work on the North Shore Rail and West Shore Light Rail projects.

"We got a good firm, and we got a bargain," said Borough President James Molinaro, who, along with the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, has championed the restoration of transit service along the former North Shore Rail right-of-way.

After the nine-month study concludes, the Environmental Impact Statement process will begin. That step can cost in the tens of millions, and the funds aren't yet set aside.

"That's still a lot of money to raise," Molinaro said.

"We're excited to be moving forward with new ideas for improving mobility on the north and west shores of Staten Island," said MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin. "This study will shed light on the benefits and costs of several transit possibilities, and we look forward to an informed dialogue with Staten Island residents."

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