WASHINGTON, DC ( releases from the office of Rep. Brian Higgins, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Rep. Louise Slaughter)
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced that President Obama has released $151 million for rail infrastructure improvements in New York State. The funding for the Empire Corridor was one of several allocations made toward the goal of a national vision to expand high speed rail in America.
“Development of New York’s rail line will provide this State with new opportunities for connections that drive our economy,” said Congressman Brian Higgins, a member of the Upstate New York Congressional Caucus. “Through this effort we can better connect workers to jobs, goods to buyers and tourists to New York’s attractions. This Recovery Act investment is one example of a project that creates real jobs for real people both in the short and long term.”
The funding was provided through $8 billion set aside for rail infrastructure through the federal Recovery Act.
According to the US Department of Transportation, competition for these federal dollars was extensive. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) received 278 pre-applications requesting more than $102 billion for high speed rail from 40 states and the District of Columbia.
Included in the funding for New York, $ 147,000,000 will support:
· Empire Corridor West - Buffalo-Depew Station Improvement
Rehabilitation of the Buffalo-Depew station facilities to a state of good repair and accessibility upgrades to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards
· Empire Corridor West - Rochester Station Improvement
Construction and repair of the Rochester Station to improve passenger accessibility related to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
· Empire Corridor South - Albany-Schenectady 2nd Track
Installation of a second track, interlocking reconfigurations and grade crossing warning device systems to eliminate an existing bottleneck and improve safety.
· Empire Corridor West - Phase 1 3rd Track Mileposts 382-393
Preparation of preliminary engineering and environmental analysis for 11 miles of third track, which will allow for passenger rail operating speeds up to 110 mph.
· Empire Corridor South - Grade Crossing Improvements - CSXT Milepost 75 to 143
Improvements to existing warning devices at 12 grade crossings.
$1 million will support:
· Empire Corridor Planning
Preparation of a service development plan and environmental studies for high speed rail enhancements throughout the Empire Corridor.
$3 million will fund:
· Adirondack - Ballston Spa Capacity Improvements
Final design and construction of 2.27 miles of third mainline track used by Amtrak's state-supported Adirondack (New York - Montreal) and Ethan Allen Express (New York - Rutland, VT) services, which will improve the reliability and on-time performance of these services.
In December Transportation Secretary LaHood indicated they already have commitments from over 30 companies in the rail manufacturing industry.
“Our tourism industry, business sector and environment will all benefit from this substantial transportation investment,” added Higgins. “This is about more than networking rail lines it is about networking people, business and communities.”
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that New York State is receiving $151 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to build new high-speed rail lines across New York.
“This is great news for New York,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Building high-speed rail here will connect more commuters and businesses, create jobs immediately and help rebuild our economy for the long term. We’ve worked hard for a long time to bring high-speed rail to New York. This round of funding is just the first step in our efforts to secure what New York needs to achieve true high-speed rail connectivity. I will keep fighting to make sure New York gets more high speed rail funding in future rounds.”
These funds are part of the initial $8 billion passed in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Last month, Senator Gillibrand supported an additional $2.5 billion for high-speed rail capital projects. As the President finalizes his Budget for 2011, it is anticipated that additional funds will be requested.
Senator Gillibrand is working hard to deliver New York another round of federal investments to build our high-speed rail, connect more communities across the state, create jobs and continue driving our economic recovery.
Slaughter Calls Federal High-Speed Rail Funds a “Victory for New York”
$151 Million the Culmination of Months of Work on Behalf of Upstate
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) today praised the decision from President Obama to award New York State $151 million to help build high-speed rail across Upstate New York.
“This announcement in high-speed rail funding is a victory for New York,” said Slaughter. “High-speed rail will bring 12,000 new jobs to our state. It will connect Upstate to New York to Cleveland and Chicago to the west, to Toronto and Montreal to the north and make travel across the state much easier. That connection will strengthen the economies of all of our cities and the entire region. In short this is good for New York’s businesses, our workers, our universities, our partners in trade and it’s good for the environment.”
“History has shown us that when we allow for greater movement of people and goods, economies grow. In New York we learned this with the Erie Canal. High-speed rail is the next revolution in transportation and New York is getting on board. This is one of the most important things I’ve done in my career,” said Slaughter. “It will have a lasting effect on our state and give every New Yorker the ability to enjoy more of what our state has to offer.”
Slaughter has been New York’s champion on high-speed rail. Last January, she founded the Upstate Congressional Caucus bringing together her colleagues from across upstate to advocate with one voice to bring the federal funds needed to construct a third track dedicated to passenger high-speed rail. Over the course of the last year, Slaughter has led meetings with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Congressional leaders, NY City & State officials, Governor Paterson’s office, the N.Y. Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak, and CSX.
Last week Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the U.S. Conference of Mayors, that when it comes to high-speed rail “there is no bigger advocate than Louise Slaughter…she is on this.”
Today’s announcement of $151 will go to projects across Upstate New York.
· $147 million will go to:
o The installation of 10 miles of second track, interlocking reconfigurations and grade crossing warning device systems to eliminate an existing bottleneck and improve safety.
o The preliminary engineering and environmental analysis for 11 miles of third track which will allow for high-speed passenger rail.
o The Buffalo-Depew Station to upgrade its facilities.
o The construction and repair of the Rochester Station
o Improvements to existing warning devices at 12 crossings.
· $3 million for the final design and construction of 2.27 miles of third track mainline track used by Amtrak’s state-supported Adirondack (Mew York-Montreal) and Ethan Allen Express (New York-Rutland, VT) services, which will improve the reliability and on-time performance of these services.
· $1 million has been allocated to prepare a service development pan and environmental plan and environmental studies for high-speed rail enhancements throughout the Empire Corridor.
“In addition to the $4.6 million we have already secured, the $151 million for New York will lay the groundwork to put shovels in the ground and make the necessary upgrades to our tracks, stations and crossings,” said Slaughter. “Every bit of federal money helps make the third track for passenger rail one step closer to a reality. I’m delighted.”
New York ranks 8th out of the 31 states that were awarded money today. The Federal Rail Administration reported receiving 278 pre-applications for grant funding totaling $102 billion. Subsequently, the FRA received 45 final applications from 24 states requesting $50 billion to advance high-speed rail corridor programs. They also received 214 final applications from 34 states totaling $7 billion for corridor planning and smaller projects.
Slaughter, along with other members of the Upstate Congressional Caucus, secured $4.595 million from this year’s Consolidated Appropriations Act that will improve grade crossings and facilitate high-speed rail in Monroe, Genesee, Montgomery, Oneida and Wayne counties. The Administration has also pledged future support to high-speed rail programs.
In August, New York State applied for $564.8 million in stimulus funds for shovel-ready projects to improve existing track and build a third track dedicated to a high-speed passenger rail line across Upstate New York.
In October, New York applied for a second round of funding that would also come from the stimulus package. It totaled $4.7 billion.
Today’s announcement of $151 million is one more award from the federal government that will make high-speed rail possible.
The FY2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act included $2.4 billion to provide grants to states for high-speed passenger rail to create a 21st Century system that reduces congestion and environmental impacts. Slaughter will again be working with the Upstate Caucus to secure more of for New York in the coming year.
“The Obama administration has made a commitment to invest in the infrastructure of tomorrow with a goal of making high-speed rail as his transportation legacy. I’m committed to securing additional federal money to make our vision a reality,” said Slaughter. “Specifically next year’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill and the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act.”
Read more from Louise Slaughter's website. Go to "news links" at wkbw.com