NY: Tonko celebrates federal Amtrak investments

Dec. 15, 2023
The federal grants will provide the funding for work on new and improved rail corridors that will enhance reliability, improve safety, and reduce travel times for passengers across the Capital Region.

Dec. 14—CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. — U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko is cheering the recent announcement of $2 million in federal funding to improve and expand Amtrak service in New York's 20th congressional district and throughout the Northeastern United States.

The money comes from four grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). It will provide the funding for work on new and improved rail corridors that will enhance reliability, improve safety, and reduce travel times for passengers across the region.

The total funding is double what the State's DOT originally requested. Tonko submitted a letter in March supporting the request.

"As a lifelong Amtrak passenger, I know firsthand how crucial our public rail system is to improving the everyday lives of New Yorkers," Tonko said in a news release. "That's why throughout my career, I've worked tirelessly alongside my Democratic colleagues to expand and upgrade our nation's passenger rail networks.

"Now, I'm thrilled to celebrate this critical infusion of funding that will enhance the safety, reliability, and speed of intercity rail service in our Capital Region and beyond. At a time when Republicans are proposing devastating cuts to Amtrak, including a 92 percent reduction in funding for the Northeast Corridor, grants like these have never been more essential.

"Going forward, I'll continue pushing for more investments that address our infrastructure needs, support our communities, and deliver for American families."

The grant awards are as follows:

—$500,000 to the New York State Department of Transportation for the Empire Corridor project, to provide improvements to the existing Amtrak Empire Service between New York City and Niagara Falls via Albany, Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo by adding frequencies, reducing travel time, and improving reliability.

—$500,000 to the New York State Department of Transportation for the Adirondack Corridor project, to provide improvements to the existing Amtrak Adirondack service between New York City and Montreal by completing a U.S. Customs Pre-Clearance Facility in Montreal, adding a second daily round-trip, and making track and infrastructure improvements to increase reliability, reduce trip times, increase safety, and achieve a state of good repair.

—$500,000 to the Vermont Agency of Transportation for the Green Mountain Corridor project, to connect New York City with Burlington, Vermont via Albany and Rutland, Vermont, dovetailing with the existing Amtrak Ethan Allen Express by providing new service to communities in Southwestern Vermont (including Bennington and Manchester) and east-central New York State ( Mechanicville).

—$500,000 to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for the Boston and Albany Corridor project, to connect Boston and Albany via Springfield, Massachusetts. The proposed corridor would provide up to eight daily round-trip passenger trains on an existing alignment that is currently being used by Amtrak's long-distance Lake Shore Limited.

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