East End commuters will be able to ride the rails to work starting in 2014, as a finalized state budget agreement includes $37.2 million for new light diesel trains on the Montauk and Greenport branches, according to 's office.
The "scoot" trains, known as "diesel multiple units," will allow the Long Island Rail Road to operate a frequent shuttle service on the Twin Forks at less cost than traditional heavy rail trains. The scoot train cars have a smaller capacity than the double-decker trains the LIRR now operates on the East End, but cars can be added on during times of increased passenger volume. The MTA proposed the idea in 2009, but funding was not provided for until now, Thiele's office states.
Thiele, I-Sag Harbor, that the MTA amended its five-year capital plan to include the scoot train funding, but it was not until this week that he could say the Legislature signed off on the amendment.
"President Helena Williams and MTA Board member Mitch Pally are to be commended for refocusing the plans of the LIRR to include the needs of the under-served East End," Thiele said. "With the approval of the shuttle trains and the , we have taken steps to increase service while at the same time reducing the unfair financial burden of the payroll tax."
Thiele said the East End has clamored for increased mass transit service through an intergrated rail and bus shuttle. He pointed to the shuttle service the LIRR provided while County Road 39 was undergoing widening, and said it have proven than shuttle service is viable.
"Finally, this new service will mean jobs for the East End tourist and second home industry," he concluded. "Transportation alternatives that make it easier to get here and easier to move from hamlet to hamlet will foster the growth of our local economy."