High-Speed Rail Funding on Track for New York

Their loss is New York's gain.

New York is picking up funding for high-speed rail projects from states that are rejecting federal dollars.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced New York was awarded a total of $354.4 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for three high-speed rail projects.

Shortly after being elected, Cuomo wrote to Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood urging him to direct any federal high-speed rail money rejected by other states to New York.

"In April, I applied for federal grant money to fund promising projects that would push New York's high-speed rail plans forward and create jobs," Cuomo said. "These initiatives have tremendous potential and will be a significant factor in ushering our economy and transportation system into the 21st century. "

In 2010, Wisconsin and Ohio returned their federal funding. Of that, New York received $7.3 million. In February 2011, Florida rejected $2.4 billion in funding, of which $2 billion was redirected to states through a competitive grant process.

The following projects received awards:

Empire Corridor West, Rochester Intermodal Station: $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. Northeast Corridor Congestion Relief, Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Harold Interlocking: $295 million to alleviate major delays for trains coming in and out of Manhattan. Empire Corridor Capacity Improvements: $58 million to construct upgrades to tracks, stations and signals, improving rail operations along the Empire Corridor in the eastern part of the state.

Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted nearly 100 applications. The money is expected to create thousands of jobs, improve mobility and stimulate manufacturing.

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer said the new Rochester station will be equipped to receive high-speed trains.

"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," Schumer said.

Rep. Louise Slaughter of Fairport, who also wrote to Hood, said funding is coming to New York because it is willing to embrace the vision that other states have rejected.

"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, co-chair of the Upstate Congressional Caucus and founding co-chair of the Bicameral High-Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail Caucus.

Her work was recognized last week when she was awarded the Golden Spike Award from the National Association of Railroad Passengers.

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