On Saturday, March 8, Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Central Islip) welcomed residents from Brentwood, Bay Shore, Central Islip, Dix Hills, and surrounding towns as he hosted a public meeting to discuss the Long Island Truck-Rail Intermodal (LITRIM) project proposed by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Ramos also wanted to talk with residents about legislation which he has introduced to stop the DOT plans by transferring the land slated to be used for the project to the Edgewood Preserve.
“Our community is tired of getting unwanted projects dumped on us,” said Ramos. “We’re taking a stand for our environment and our quality of life. And we’re doing it together.”
Residents expressed concerns over the project, which entails bringing goods using freight trains to the site of the former Pilgrim Psychiatric Center. From there, the goods will be placed on trucks and transported to various places throughout Long Island. Members of community overwhelmingly oppose the plan, citing concerns over traffic congestion, the environment, and other quality of life issues.
Ramos echoed these concerns, maintaining his long held opposition to the project. “With this project we would face traffic nightmares and environmental degradation, which this community simply cannot handle,” said Ramos. “I firmly reject efforts to industrialize our neighborhoods.”
“The DOT needs to listen to legislators like Assemblyman Ramos and put an end to this project,” said Patricia Burkhart, a representative from the non-profit environmental group Friends of the Edgewood Preserve, which has been working with Ramos to organize rallies, public meetings and letter writing campaigns designed to educated the community about the proposed project.
Many of the people in attendance spoke about their reasons for opposing the project. Residents expressed their frustration at the lack of information shared by the DOT.
Panelists at the public meeting also included Suffolk County Legislator Ricardo Montano (D-Central Islip).
“We need economic development, but not at the expense of our quality of life,” Ramos said. “I want this area to become part of the Edgewood Preserve where children and families can come and spend a day – I don’t want to see this piece of land overrun with trucks and trains day and night.”