Slaughter Announces $60 Million for HSR Projects Along Upstate's Empire Corridor

 

 

WASHINGTON - Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28) today announced almost $60 million has been awarded to New York State for two rail projects that will advance high-speed rail projects along Upstate's high-speed rail corridor. Today federal funding turned down by Florida Governor Rick Scott was reallocated to New York benefiting the Rochester Intermodal Station to the tune of $1.4 million and building a fourth track in the highly congested Rensselaer station in Albany with an additional $58 million awarded today.

Today federal funding turned down by Florida Governor Rick Scott was reallocated to New York benefiting Rochester Intermodal Station to the tune of $1.4 million and building a fourth track in the highly congested Rensselaer station in Albany with an additional $58 million. Further details on the projects are included below.

"Every time federal high-speed rail money is available, millions of dollars have come to New York," said Slaughter, founding Co-Chair of the Bicameral High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Caucus. "Because New York is willing to embrace the vision that other states have rejected, we will be able to create one of the largest international trade corridors placing Upstate New York's cities squarely in the middle of economic activity. When other states have rejected the vision of a high-speed intercity network, I have made sure New York has been willing to move ahead and not repeat their mistakes.

Thirty-four states were competing for Florida's allocated funding. New York's upstate and downstate projects together received almost one-fifth of Florida's rejected funds.

"I'm particularly pleased to see funding for the Rochester Intermodal Station which will make high-speed rail accessible to tourists and business commuters who come to Rochester," said Slaughter. "I'm also pleased that we are laying track and relieving one of the Empire Corridor's most significant bottlenecks in Albany. The tracks around Albany have been congested for years and the construction of this fourth track is long overdue."

On February 16, the same day Florida's governor rejected $2.4 billion in federal funding, Slaughter wrote to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood requesting that a portion of the funding be given to New York's high-speed rail program. The full text of the letter is available below.

Slaughter is the founder and Co-Chair of the Upstate Congressional Caucus and founding Co-Chair of the Bicameral High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Caucus.

Last week, for her work advocating for a national high-speed rail network that includes Upstate New York, Slaughter was awarded the Golden Spike Award from the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP). NARP President and CEO Ross B. Capon said, "Through her leadership over many years, and this year in the creation of the bicameral High Speed and Intercity Rail Caucus, Congresswoman Slaughter has shown the steadfast political courage it will take to create a modern passenger rail system, bringing the many benefits of trains to Americans across the nation."

Summary of Projects

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.

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.

Slaughter's Letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood

February 16, 2011

The Honorable Raymond H. LaHood

Secretary

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20590

Dear Secretary LaHood:

We are writing to request that New York State receive a portion of the $2.4 billion in high-speed rail funds that the state of Florida was awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As you know, this morning Governor Rick Scott announced his decision to reject the funds for the Orlando high-speed rail project. New York State is committed to implementing high-speed rail because we understand that an improved transportation system is vital to our national security.

While we are aware of the resistance among some to spend money in our current economic environment, the truth is that only bold investments in our nation's infrastructure will help us build a foundation for a stronger future, compete in the global economy and improve national security. The ability to ensure the safety of our citizens is tied directly to our ability to rebuild and retool our transportation networks and our economy that relies on these networks for success. A national high-speed rail system would serve as a modern network to move both civilian and military personnel at a moment's notice, while freeing our freight rail lines to move goods and supplies.

Continuing high-speed rail efforts in Upstate New York, will directly benefit the thousands of rail workers in the state, just as it would in regions throughout the country. Once completed, a high speed-rail line would continue to create expanded opportunities for economic growth. In Western New York, completion of an Empire Corridor high speed rail line would reduce travel time significantly, and expand the Western New York labor market to 955,562 workers. This would make the Buffalo-Niagara Falls-Rochester metro area the 26th largest in the nation.

It would also open Canadian markets to the United States. A high-speed rail line between the two countries would serve as an international gateway tying together knowledge hubs like Montreal, Toronto and New York City with the skilled and talented labor of Buffalo, Rochester and Niagara Falls. It also would break down the east-west barrier of current American train travel, by providing access to Boston to the east, and Detroit and Chicago to the west- a notion that is unheard of today.

Thank you for your consideration and for your strong leadership in the Administration's historic and bold initiative to modernize our nation's infrastructure with high-speed rail.

Sincerely,

Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28)

Paul Tonko (NY-21)

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