Some of the most contentious transportation discussions in the region are taking place on Long Island. For this reason, TSTC sent surveys to the incumbents and challengers in every state legislative district in Nassau and Suffolk counties. MTR is highlighting each district from which at least one candidate responded.
Allen E. Huggins, according to the Suffolk County Democratic Party, is challenging Republican Assm. Mike Fitzpatrick (also running on the Conservative and Independence tickets) in New York’s 7th Assembly District which encompasses the Town of Smithtown and parts of the Towns of Brookhaven and Islip on the north shore of Long Island. TSTC received no response from the challenger, Mr. Huggins, but Assm. Fitzpatrick provided TSTC with responses to the questionnaire via a phone interview and highlighted his stances on particular transportation issues.
In general, Assm. Fitzpatrick is a strong proponent of curtailing government spending. He believes that more government efficiency in other areas of the budget will increase available transportation funding and that bonding is another approach that should be used to raise transportation funds. He is open minded to privatization of Long Island’s transportation systems, believes there is a need to rein in transportation authorities, and is an advocate of consolidating agencies.
Assm. Fitzpatrick conceded that the current suburban lifestyle is not conducive to public transit, and indicated that it is difficult to build more roads because of a dearth of funding. However, he also believes there should be more limited access highways criss-crossing the region. In contrast to these positions, Assm. Fitzpatrick also supports smart growth efforts that would create more walkable and bikable communities and denser developments.
Assm. Fitzpatrick supports the LIRR East Side Access project, the LIRR Third Track project, the Long Island Intermodal at Pilgrim State project, and the widening of Route 347.