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Schumer: Long Island Commuters Face ‘Transportation Without Representation’

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

New York Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer is taking up yet another local cause. This time, it’s Long Island commuters who he says aren’t being represented by the Amtrak board of directors.

“For beleaguered Long Island commuters, the current situation is transportation without representation,” the No. 3 Senate Democratic leader said in a statement Friday. “More commuters use these East River tunnels than ride on Amtrak’s entire Northeast Corridor, and they deserve to have someone looking out just for their interests.”

Schumer’s office notes that Amtrak owns the tunnels under the East River that Long Island Railroad commuters use to get in and out of Manhattan. He suggests that President Barack Obama should nominate a Long Islander be a commuter representative.

The Senate confirmed Thomas C. Carper for reappointment to the Amtrak board of directors just before the August recess. Carper had been the Amtrak board’s chairman in his previous term. Although Amtrak’s connection to Delaware are well-documented, Thomas C. Carper is actually from Illinois (and is not to be confused with Democratic Sen. Thomas R. Carper of Delaware). One position remains vacant.

It’s not clear how much sway Schumer might hold on getting someone from Long Island to fill that slot, though. The current chairman knows a thing or two about the New York metropolitan area. Chairman Anthony Coscia used to head the board of commissioners overseeing the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.