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.
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