Saturday, April 18, 2009

High-Speed Rail Corridor to Buffalo !

Obama lists Buffalo as high-speed rail candidate - 04/17/2009
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced Thursday that it is proceeding with plans to allow 10 rail corridors — including the Empire Corridor linking Buffalo and Albany —to compete for up to $13 billion in federal high-speed rail funding. Only six of the 10 corridors are expected to receive funding, but local lawmakers are hopeful, as the White House invited Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, the Fairport Democrat who is spearheading the upstate New York high-speed rail effort, to attend Thursday’s announcement.

While competition for the funding is expected to be fierce, local lawmakers believe the upstate route has an advantage because it could be built on a third track along an existing right of way. That means it could be built more quickly than other highspeed rail corridors — which is important because the first $8 billion aims to fund projects that are “shovel-ready.” “The ‘third track initiative’ is deserving of federal support and I intend to fight tooth and nail to make high-speed rail in upstate New York a reality,” Rep. Slaughter said. Read the report by Jerry Zremski, News Washington Bureau Chief, in The Buffalo News.
The map below shows the NY Empire Corridor, and how it would link Buffalo to Albany and NY City, as well as to the existing Northeast Corridor from Boston to Washington DC.

CSX to help on high-speed rail - 03/26/2009
WASHINGTON — The company that owns the right of way where an upstate high-speed rail line would be located is willing to work with government officials to get the new rail project going, lawmakers said Wednesday. CSX owns the right of way for the proposed high-speed rail line between Buffalo and Albany, where it currently runs freight trains. Both Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-NY, and Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, met with Michael Ward, chief executive officer of CSX Corp. A CSX spokesman, said the meetings with the lawmakers were productive, and the participants agreed on the need for the company and government to cooperate on the project to make sure that upstate’s freight and passenger rail needs are met. Read the report by Jerry Zremski, News Washington Bureau Chief, in The Buffalo News.

Buffalo's Central Terminal promoted as high-speed rail hub - 03/24/2009
Fast trains could be accommodated
If high-speed railroad service becomes a reality between Western New York and other parts of the state, some East Side activists are lobbying to make Central Terminal the major hub.
Transforming the massive Art Deco landmark into a mixed-use complex that would accommodate fast-speed trains makes sense on several levels, they insisted Monday during a City Hall strategy session.
They said the terminal’s location only two miles from the downtown core, its abundant parking and its existing rail infrastructure make it an ideal site as officials eye plans for spending federal stimulus money on high-speed rail corridors. Read the report by Brian Meyer in The Buffalo News.

Extend Metro Rail to Central Terminal, Airport - 04/17/2009
Bravo! Now that The News has championed Metro Rail extension to the Central Terminal in order to accommodate high-speed rail passengers, how about going the whole way—to Buffalo Niagara International Airport? Think of it—intermodal connectivity in every direction. With Metro Rail extended to the airport and Transit Road, and with Amtrak available at the Central Terminal, anyone headed in either direction could use any mode of travel that’s convenient.
For instance, a visitor seeking low air fares could hop on Amtrak, connect to Metro Rail at the Central Terminal and reach the airport, all without the pressure of airport parking. Customers and employees of the airport or Amtrak could hop on Metro Rail at any convenient station and reach their destination, and leave the car at home.
Metro Rail is the world’s greenest mass transit, via hydropower from Niagara Falls. Connecting Metro Rail with Amtrak and the airport will demonstrate to the world that Western New York has the vision to build on this wonderful asset.
Gladys Gifford
President, Citizens Regional Transit Corp., Buffalo

High-speed rail line will benefit economy - 03/17/2009
The recent announcement by Gov. David Paterson about the development of a comprehensive rail plan for the state is welcome news indeed. Even more welcome is the growing support from all corners for high-speed rail, which will truly bring New York into the 21st century and will generate significant benefits for the upstate economy. As a family with sometimes weekly trips to Albany and New York City for both business and pleasure, we dream of a time when the state has a truly functional rail system. One that operates on time, with limited freight-train delays, making it possible to work while commuting, and saving energy. Read more here.
Woo-hoo, see you on the train!
Lucinda B. Ingalls

Improving rail system should be a ‘no-brainer’ - 07/23/2008
Last week, I took the train from Washington, D. C., to Buffalo. It was a pleasant trip, but what surprised me most was the cost: $71. That was less than the cost of the gas to drive, $83.50, and much less than the nonstop air fare, $600. It did take longer, but the seating was much more comfortable than the airplane and it avoided all of the hassle connected with airport congestion and auto traffic difficulties. There were a large number of people joining me for the trip. And I am sure we all saved gas and the production of large volumes of greenhouse gas.
With the airlines increasing costs and reducing service, you would think that it would be a “no-brainer” connected with the idea of improvement in the rail system. Read more here.
Philip J. Kintner

1 comment:

Bill Banas said...

Incredible, wonderful news, all of this... I'm starting to believe it will happen. This will be a fundamental shift in how people travel on this continent, and how capital and investment flow.

This could be something that sets Buffalo apart from other cities. Denver isn't getting it. Neither is Phoenix or Las Vegas. Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, and Miami have barely begun even thinking about the idea. It could be a game changer for Buffalo---but only if we are proactive enough to be one of the first to entirely embrace it.

First, Buffalo needs an intermodal transportation center (ITC). There have been plans for almost 15 years on the site of the Aud and the Donovan Building. Federal funding was allocated. It should have been built already, awaiting the high speed trains, but local leaders saw the future in more cars, more trucks, and more sprawl.

No matter---we can start again today an still be ahead of the pack. (In my opinion, the ITC should be downtown. When I get off of a train in the US, Canada, Europe or anywhere else in the world, I want to be in the city center.) The ITC should connect the high-speed inter city trains to our regional train system (including trains north to Niagara Falls and south to the ski areas).

Second, we need to build a new passenger train crossing over the Niagara River to Canada and on to Toronto.

Of course, a new passenger rail crossing to Canada and Toronto will have to be put in a location that already has access to rail infrastructure and rights-of-way. This is one of the reasons that many foresighted people in Buffalo have been fighting so hard for a better location for a new Peace Bridge.

The location of the existing Peace Bridge---it's lack of proximity to rail infrastructure and the lack of space in the vicinity---has stifled Buffalo's ability to take significant advantage of the massive amount of trade on our doorstep. Because of this, the vast majority of the trucks and people pass right on through without stopping.

Transportation, first by canal and then especially by rail, was what built Buffalo. It is our natural advantage---a confluence of Buffalo's location, topography, and geography---but only if we seize the opportunity now.

Does Buffalo want to be a doormat or a destination? Our actions regarding high-speed rail (and the Peace Bridge) will be the answer.

Bill Banas
The New Millennium Group of WNY