The MTA is distributing this pool report from onboard a Jamaica-bound train that departed Grand Central Madison at 2:17 p.m. today, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, with Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber, and other officials on board.
This report was prepared by Alfonso Castillo of Newsday and has not been edited for distribution.
Photos by pool photographer, Newsday’s Debbie Egan-Chin, can be found at this link:
Shortly after Sunday afternoon’s opening ceremony at Grand Central Madison, Gov. Hochul boarded a train to Jamaica with Sen. Schumer and other dignitaries.
Hochul and Schumer sat beside each other in a six-seater, across from Janno Lieber and Cathy Rinaldi. LIRR union leader Anthony Simon stood beside them in the aisle, and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone stood at his seat behind Hochul and Schumer.
They chatted throughout the train ride, with Schumer asking a lot of questions about the East Side Access project, including, “How long do you think it will be before people really start knowing it and using it?”
Rinaldi acknowledged, “It’s going to be an adjustment.” Lieber added, “People are attached to their commutes. It may take a while for people to switch over.”
There was other small talk, including Lieber and Schumer reminiscing about how they first met, and Bellone introducing Schumer to his children. There was also some discussion about the Schumer’s efforts to secure federal funding for various transit projects, and about other projects still in the works, including the Jamaica Capacity Expansion.
The train arrived at Jamaica, and Schumer and Hochul made brief remarks to the press. Schumer talked about how smooth the ride was, and Hochul advised riders to check the LIRR’s schedules ahead of Monday.