On Thursday, President Obama announced funding to begin to lay the foundation for high-speed passenger rail from Buffalo to Albany and New York City (the Empire Corridor), as well as for the North East Region and other regions of the country.
$151 million to help with high-speed rail projects
The federal stimulus money will be used for a series of projects along the Empire Corridor, including preliminary work on a third track between Rochester and Batavia and construction of a second track between Schenectady and Albany, as well as track improvements between Albany and Montreal.Read the report by Mark Sommer and Jerry Zremski in The Buffalo News.
The Depew and Rochester train stations also will be renovated to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The amount of funding was far less than the $4.7 billion the state had sought. Of that total, $3.2 billion would have been targeted for a dedicated high-speed third track along the rail route and the rest for station, bridge and equipment improvements.
Advocates in Washington said that while the state had sought more funding, the amount it will receive still would be a major step toward 110-mph trains that would reduce travel time from Buffalo to Albany to 3½ hours and to New York City to less than six hours.
"I think this is wonderful," said Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, who organized the 11-member Upstate New York Caucus early last year to push the rail project.
"I was hoping for a half-billion, but I'm happy with what we got. They're not going to start it and not finish it, and I'm going to make sure of that."
Information from the White House:
New York - Albany - Buffalo:
The 468-mile Empire Corridor connects all of New York’s largest cities. The vision for the corridor is to increase speeds to 110mph and add daily round trips, with one of the largest investments being the construction of a third track between Albany and Buffalo.
The Northeast Region currently has the most integrated passenger rail network in the country. The vision for these rail corridors is to invest in projects that will boost speeds, cut trip times and strengthen the system as a real alternative to air and car travel. The seven intercity passenger rail corridors in the region are shown in the map.
[click image to enlarge]Additional information from the White House on funding of these and other regions of the country is here.