New High-Speed Rail Funding Requests Submitted
State Seeks $138.1 Million in Federal Grants for Rail Improvements
ALBANY, NY (08/13/2010)(readMedia)-- Governor David A. Paterson and New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee today announced that NYSDOT has submitted ten applications for $138.1 million in competitive grant funding for high-speed rail improvement projects across the state from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) under the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program. Applications were invited in support of high-speed intercity passenger rail corridor development and rail congestion relief projects and were submitted last week. The grants require a minimum 20 percent non-federal funding match.
"Rail transportation is critical to New York State's economy, mobility and environmental health," Governor David A. Paterson said. "We are seeking these grants, in addition to the $151 million already received, to further assist our efforts to modernize our rail infrastructure, increase the speed and reliability of passenger rail service, reduce travel times, strengthen our freight rail system and create and maintain jobs across the state."
FRA will award funds from a discretionary program with $245 million for individual projects for enhancements to high-speed rail corridors, including four segments in New York State: the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C. and Boston, the Empire Corridor between New York City and Niagara Falls, and the rail line between Albany, N.Y., and Rutland, Vt., and the Adirondack Corridor from New York City to Montreal.
In March of last year, Governor Paterson released the 2009 New York State Rail Plan, the first comprehensive update of the State's rail strategy in 22 years and a prerequisite for future federal funding for rail capital improvement projects. Last year, the FRA awarded New York State $151 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for high-speed intercity passenger rail improvements.
"With Governor Paterson's support, New York State has developed a plan that would make rail service the preferred choice for travelers and shippers, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and spurring economic growth," State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee said. "The new projects we're proposing will move us toward that goal, benefitting New Yorkers and their businesses from Long Island to Plattsburgh to Niagara Falls and everywhere in between."
The grant applications submitted request:
- Livingston Avenue Bridge - $2 million in Federal funds for a $4 million project for preliminary engineering and required environmental work will allow NYSDOT to conduct the necessary studies to replace the Livingston Avenue Bridge, which crosses over the Hudson between Rensselaer and Albany. The bridge was originally constructed in 1866. Its possible closure puts all passenger rail service west and north of Albany at risk, including service between New York City and Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls. The project includes $2 million in State matching funds.
- Hudson Line Signal Improvements - $8 million of a total $10 million project for final design and construction of train signal improvements between New York City and Albany. The existing signal system is nearly 30 years old and frequent outages occur during inclement weather, affecting all trains along the corridor. This project is the first phase of an initiative to increase overall reliability of the signal system along this problematic section of the Empire corridor. The project includes a State funding match of $2 million.
- Albany-Rensselaer Station – 4th Track - $34.31 million for a $42.89 million project for the final design and construction of a fourth passenger loading track, extending both existing loading platforms and improving the signal system. The project will reduce train delays by increasing the number of trains that the station can handle at one time. The project also will remove a 30-mph speed restriction on the tracks approaching the station. The project includes a proposed State funding match of $8.58 million.
- Schenectady Intermodal Station - $10.44 million for a $13.05 million project for the final design and construction of a new passenger rail station in Schenectady. The project includes a $2.61 million funding match from the State and Capital District Transportation Authority.
- Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center - $19.47 million for a $24.96 million project for the final design and construction for the relocation of the Amtrak passenger station operations in Niagara Falls to a redeveloped, historic 1863 Customs House. The project is supported with a $4.99 million match from the City of Niagara Falls and State funding.
- Mohawk Valley: Empire Corridor Congestion Relief - $5.85 million for a $7.31 million project for the final design and construction of track and signal improvements and the addition of new crossovers between tracks, helping to ease train traffic congestion along the Empire Corridor through Herkimer, Montgomery and Oneida counties. The Empire West Corridor experiences delays because of the current track layout. This project will remedy the situation. The project includes a $1.46 million match from State funding.
- Syracuse: Empire Corridor Congestion Relief - $18.55 million for a $23.18 million project for the final design and construction of track and signal improvements along the Empire Corridor in the Syracuse area in order to increase capacity and enhance operational performance. The project includes a $4.64 million match from State funding.
- Niagara Falls High Speed Rail Inspection and Maintenance Facility - $2 million for an approximately $2.5 million project for engineering and conducting an environmental review of a proposed high-speed rail inspection and maintenance facility. This project also will examine high tech equipment for monitoring and inspecting passenger trains. This project includes a $500,000 match from State funding.
- Adirondack Corridor Service Reliability Initiative - $4.72 million for a $5.90 million project for the final design and construction to upgrade approximately 23 miles of track between Schenectady and Fort Edward, allowing maximum speeds for passenger trains to increase from 60 mph to 79 mph. The upgrades also will improve the reliability of Adirondack Corridor service. This project includes a $1.18 million match from State funding.
- Poughkeepsie Rail Yard Congestion Project - $2.15 million of $4.30 million project for preliminary engineering and conducting an environmental review to allow Metro North to consolidate yard operations onto a contiguous site to the east of the two-track Hudson Line of the Empire Corridor, clearing Main Tracks and the Controlled Siding for use by intercity passenger trains. This project includes a $2.15 million match from Metro-North.
The following statements were provided in support of these high-speed rail projects:
Senator Charles E. Schumer said: "These applications will build on the financial commitment that we have already made to put people to work bringing faster, safer, more reliable rail to Upstate New York. The dense population of the state, coupled with the significant distances between its major cities makes upstate New York an ideal location to build high speed rail. I'll continue to work with my colleagues to fight for more funding for New York State."
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand said: "We need this investment for New York's economic future. Bringing high speed rail to our state will connect more commuters and businesses, create jobs immediately and help rebuild our economy for the long term, all while reducing pollution. We've worked hard for a long time to bring high speed rail to New York, and I will keep fighting to secure as much federal funding as possible."
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said: "I've long said that high-speed rail is the next revolution in transportation and New York is getting on board. These grants, in addition to the $151 million New York secured from the stimulus package and the funding members of the House are working for through the appropriations process bring us closer everyday to the funds we need to make high-speed rail a reality in New York," said Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, founder of the Upstate Congressional Caucus. "Without a doubt, working to connect our upstate economies with high-speed rail 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."
State Senate President Malcolm A. Smith said: "I applaud Commissioner Gee and the leadership at the Department of Transportation for submitting a series of necessary and essential projects for prospective funding by the FRA. The type of track and signal upgrades contemplated in the proposal are an essential cornerstone of our present and future rail vision in New York - as we enhance the current line, increasing reliability and dependability - while moving forward, towards a system of "true" high speed rail that will move people and goods across our state faster than ever."
State Senator Martin Malave Dilan, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee said: "These new applications represent the next step in making high speed intercity passenger rail a reality in New York. Moving people across the state will become more environmentally friendly, efficient and appealing to the traveling public with the approval of these applications. I would like to thank Governor Paterson and DOT Commissioner Stan Gee for their continued focus and efforts to bring high speed rail to New York. I also would like to encourage Senator's Schumer and Gillibrand, along with our entire Congressional Delegation, to advocate on behalf of New York and encourage the Federal Railroad Administration to approve and award our applications."
State Assemblyman David Gantt, Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Transportation said: "I am excited to see that the New York State Department of Transportation is moving forward with the high speed rail program. This initiative is vital to the future growth and economic viability of Upstate New York, and our entire state. I support these applications, and look forward to a future of connectivity and economic growth."