Gov. Cuomo to call in engineering experts to tackle high-speed rail

The panel will be tasked with reexamining and rethinking past high-speed rail plans to develop a new set of recommendations.

An Empire Service train passes under the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan.
An Empire Service train passes under the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is taking a page from his MTA L Tunnel project playbook and applying it the state’s 2020 agenda concerning high-speed rail.

The governor will call in a panel of engineers to reexamine and rethink the state’s past high-speed rail plans as part of his 2020 State of the State agenda. The engineering panel will recommend a new plan for how to build faster, greener and more reliable high-speed rail in New York.

"High-speed rail is transforming economies around the world. We've been told that bringing this technology to our state is too expensive, too difficult and would take too long - that's not an acceptable attitude for New York," Gov. Cuomo said. "When we developed our plan to repair the L Train Tunnel, the team of experts we assembled questioned every assumption and brought new creativity to a seemingly intractable problem. We not only found a way to repair the tunnel without shutting down service, we are doing it ahead of schedule. This kind of outside-the-box thinking will help us determine how we could deliver high-speed rail for New York."

The governor says this team of experts will review past studies and strategies that countries all over the world have used to build thousands of miles of high-speed rail, to ask every question and find the best way to build high-speed rail in New York.

The governor notes that while most of the state’s population lives a short distance from the Empire Corridor, which connects the state through New York City, Albany and Buffalo, these lines average 51 mph, meaning it is often the slowest method available for New Yorkers.

The Empire Corridor, through a partnership with Amtrak, the state, Capital District Transportation Authority and CSX, has seen more than $190 million in investment since 2012 on the Hudson Line between Schenectady and Poughkeepsie. The projects funded include signal line improvements, adding a second track between Albany-Rensselaer and Schenectady stations and a new intermodal station in Schenectady. 

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