Implementing contingencies for Long Island Rail Road commuters will be a work in progress, said the chairman of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

"We've become the victim of Amtrak," Joseph Lhota told reporters on a conference call Thursday. "The MTA is looking at this head-on."

Then-MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Lhota in Grand Central Terminal on Fri., December 28, 2012
"We'll evaluate everything," said MTA chairman Joseph Lhota. MTA New York City Transit/Marc Hermann

Emergency track repair by quasi-federal Amtrak will force track-related closures and delays for LIRR customers into Penn Station in midtown Manhattan starting Monday.

"Monday is a test," said Lhota. "Tuesday will be a test. Wednesday will be another test."

The MTA in June announced a mitigation plan that includes ferries, buses, connections to New York City subway stations in Queens and Brooklyn, and expanded park-and-ride options.

"We'll monitor the work by Amtrak," said Lhota. "We'll hold them to Sept. 1 [the scheduled completion date] and we'll be reporting what we see."

The MTA, which operates Long Island Rail Road, is one of the largest municipal issuers with roughly $38 billion in debt. Officials are still assessing costs of the LIRR contingencies and the possibility of some reimbursement from federal or state funding sources.

"We'll evaluate everything," said Lhota. "We're going to remain flexible, moving bus stops around if necessary."

The plan also includes a 25% discount for LIRR riders traveling to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn and Hunter's Point Avenue in Queens, and half-price overnight truck tolls to encourage nighttime truck use and minimize congestion on the Long Island Expressway.

Officials plan to maintain LIRR Penn Station passenger capacity during peak hours by adding rush-hour trains and lengthening the number of existing trains.

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