President Obama has announced $151 Million in high speed Rail funds for the Empire Corridor, that runs from Albany to Niagara Falls.
Both Representative Louise Slaughter and Congressman Brian Higgins have pushed hard for high speed rail, and 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.”
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.
“This announcement in high-speed rail funding is a victory for New York,” according to 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.”
$151 million will go to projects across Upstate New York as follows:
-The installation of 10 miles of second track, interlocking reconfigurations and grade crossing warning device systems to eliminate an existing bottleneck and improve safety.
-The preliminary engineering and environmental analysis for 11 miles of third track which will allow for high-speed passenger rail.
-The Buffalo-Depew Station to upgrade its facilities.
-The construction and repair of the Rochester Station
-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.
Slaughter says, “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. 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.”