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Queens Chronicle

Railroad a contract through

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Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 3:44 pm, Fri Jul 18, 2014.

With only a couple days left before a preventable, man-made disaster hits Queens, much of the rest of the city and Long Island, it’s time for Gov. Cuomo to exercise true leadership. He must prevent the Long Island Rail Road from shutting down due to a strike that will commence Sunday, and to do that, he needs to take a seat at the negotiating table.

The Metropolitan Transpor-tation Authority and its unions have been unable to reach a new contract agreement to replace the one that expired four years ago. As a state agency, the MTA answers to the governor. So it’s time he went beyond lamenting the damage a strike would cause and took an active role in preventing it. Even though the two sides returned to the table Wednesday, they’ve spent so much time at odds that it seems highly unlikely they can do it on their own. And history indicates that Congress, which could impose arbitration to force a contract resolution, is unlikely to do so unless a strike actually occurs. That leaves it in Cuomo’s hands.

A strike would be devastating, stranding 300,000 commuters and costing the economy an estimated $50 million a day. And the parties are not all that far apart. Cuomo says we must do all we can to avert a strike and we agree — he should put those words into action and get a deal done.

Welcome to the discussion.