Monday, April 27, 2009

It’s off to the races—but not by train

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The Belmont Park racing season begins Wednesday April 29, but the special trains that used to deliver enthusiasts to the track will be missing. The Long Island Rail Road is said to be canceling the trains as part of a “doomsday” scenario of service cuts and fare hikes to help LIRR parent New York MTA cover a looming $1.2 billion deficit year.

The New York State Assembly has failed to approve a plan to raise state money to help reduce the deficit, and the elimination of the racetrack specials is one result.

Belmont park owners have reportedly set aside $100,000 to provide courtesy bus shuttles from the LIRR station in Queens Village to Belmont.

A “doomsday” inconvenience that will not be solved so easily is the average 23% fare increase that MTA plans to impose on its rail commuter, subway, bus, and other customers if the legislation fails to come to the rescue.