NY Wins Big Chunk Of Federal Railroad Aid Rejected By FL

Northeast Corridor gets nearly $800M to boost speeds, increase reliability of high-speed rail service.

New York will be getting major regional mass transit improvements as a result of Florida rejecting more than $2 billion in federal funds for high speed rail, according to federal officials.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today revealed nearly $800 million has been allocated to improve Northeast Corridor rail service and another nearly $60 million for New York rail improvements.

“If the administration wants to award hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade our transportation infrastructure and create faster, more efficient passenger rail service, there is no need to ask New York twice,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY. “This historic investment will clear up the spaghetti of confusing lines and signals that slow down travel on the Boston-New York-Philly-DC corridor and make significant upgrades to our upstate rail corridors and out-dated stations, like in Rochester and Schenectady, to establish high speed rail.  It will also make the Long Island commute faster and more efficient. We need this critical funding and if other states don’t want it, we’ll gladly take it.”

When Florida Gov. Rick Scott refused $2.4 billion in high speed rail funds, Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, lobbied LaHood to bring that funding to New York.

"There is no doubt, we must expand high speed rail to connect more travelers, workers and businesses, create new construction jobs immediately and provide an economic engine to fuel our growth for the long term,” Gillibrand said. “Today, we have taken a major step closer to the goal of a robust high speed rail system for our State and Region that will help grow the nation's economy. I will keep fighting for investments to expand high speed rail to every corner of New York.”

The funding includes $450 million for infrastructure and signal improvements along Amtrak's heaviest traveled section of the Northeast Corridor from New York to Washington, DC, $58 million for capacity improvements along the Empire Corridor, including construction of a fourth track at the Albany-Rensselaer Station and a new Schenectady Station, $295 million to reduce congestion related to the Harold Interlocking in New York City, and $1.4 million for planning and engineering for the new Rochester Intermodal Station. 

“I am thrilled that Secretary LaHood has awarded these investments to the New York Region where ridership continues to grow, and I am thankful for his leadership,” Gillibrand said. “Clearly, there is a demand to increase rail transit in New York and across the Northeast. These investments will make a major impact in meeting that demand by relieving congestion and increasing the reliability of service.”

LaHood said 24 states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted nearly 100 applications for the funding.

“President Obama and Vice President Biden’s vision for a national rail system will help ensure America is equipped to win the future with the fastest, safest and most efficient transportation network in the world,” said LaHood. “The investments we’re making today will help states across the country create jobs, spur economic development and boost manufacturing in their communities.”

The Federal Railroad Administration selected 15 states and Amtrak to receive $2.02 billion for 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects as part of a nationwide network that will connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail in 25 years. LaHood said the dedicated effort to improve the Northeast Corridor will increase speeds from 135 mph to 160 mph on critical segments, improve on-time performance and add more seats for passengers.

Rail project highlights include:

Amtrak – NEC Power, Signal, Track, Catenary Improvements – $450 million to boost capacity, reliability, and speed in one of the most heavily-traveled sections of the Northeast Corridor, creating a 24-mile segment of track capable of supporting train speeds up to 160-mph.

Maryland – NEC Bridge Replacement – $22 million for engineering and environmental work to replace the century-old Susquehanna River Bridge, which currently causes frequent delays for commuters due to the high volume of critical maintenance.

New York – NEC Harold Interlocking Amtrak Bypass Routes – $295 million to alleviate major delays for trains coming in and out of Manhattan with new routes that allow Amtrak trains to bypass the busiest passenger rail junction in the nation.

Rhode Island – NEC Kingston Track, Platform Improvements – $25 million for design and construction of an additional 1.5 miles of third track in Kingston, RI, so high-speed trains operating at speeds up to 150-mph can pass trains on a high-volume section of the Northeast Corridor.

Rhode Island – NEC Providence Station Improvements – $3 million for preliminary engineering and environmental work to renovate the Providence Station. These upgrades will enhance the passenger experience, keep the station in good working order and improve transit and pedestrian connectivity.

Connecticut – New Haven to Springfield Track Construction – $30 million to complete double-track segments on the corridor, bringing added intercity rail service to a route that plays an important role in the region, connecting communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts to the NEC, as well as Vermont.
Massachusetts/Maine – Downeaster Track Improvements – $20.8 million to construct a 10.4-mile section of double track between Wilmington and Andover, MA. Track upgrades will increase schedule performance and dependability for passengers traveling on the Northern New England Downeaster corridor.

New York – Empire Corridor Capacity Improvements – $58 million to construct upgrades to tracks, stations and signals, improving rail operations along the Empire Corridor. This includes replacement of the Schenectady Station and construction of a fourth station track at the Albany - Rensselaer Station, one of the corridor’s most significant bottlenecks.

New York – Rochester Station and Track Improvements – $1.4 million for a preliminary engineering and environmental analysis for a new Rochester Intermodal Station on the Empire Corridor, connecting passengers with additional transit and pedestrian options.

Meredith Lesly August 10, 2011 at 06:58 PM
But once again, we've drifted onto religion. Am I never going to get a response to my economic points, Mr. McVetty?
Francis T McVetty August 10, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Meredith, have you looked at the stick market today? How are you doing? That is my answer to your presidents answer to get the economy going. You economic points are mute. What has your president done for the past 2 1/2 years? I say yours, because I didn't vote for him because he is a socialist. The answer to our economic recovery is NOT socialism. It is capitalism. You have one theory and i have another. We will see which one works. I do think right now, yours and the presidents isn't doing too well. 10,894.54 -345.23 -3.07%
Meredith Lesly August 10, 2011 at 07:44 PM
It's funny. During all the years that we had Republicans presidents, Democrats were told that the president was the president of all of us, whether or not we had voted for him, and that it was unpatriotic to say bad things about him. I guess the Republicans didn't really mean it, hunh? You want us to say "One nation under God" while making it clear that you don't actually mean it. "We the people" only applies to people you agree with. At any rate, I'm more interested in whether you finally understand why 46% of people who filed tax returns didn't pay any federal taxes. The right throws that number around as if the people were gaming the system, because it fits their view of the world, when the real reason they didn't owe federal taxes is because that's how many working families are living on $30K or less. Understanding how we got here, understanding what underlies where we are, understanding the past are all important to figuring out how to have a better future. I wish you showed any signs of wanting to understand any of this or to do more than throw epithets at people.
Lola K August 10, 2011 at 09:17 PM
Thank you, Ms. Lesly. I spent 6 years being told I was unpatriotic (I gave Bush the benefit of the doubt for some time.) Yet (other than the 2004 election,) I sincerely never once wanted them man to fail. I wanted some indication that he was honest and competent. I wanted to learn that he was diligently trying to do what was best for the country. It never happened and as a result I was unpatriotic. Now when I criticize the president, I'm a patriot. And maybe I am: I care enough about this country to want him and it to succeed.
Meredith Lesly August 10, 2011 at 09:31 PM
I believe we are both patriots in the truest sense. Of course we want our presidents to succeed in helping our country. It's easy to fly a flag and call yourself a patriot; it's much harder to try and live it in many small ways.


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