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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Monday, May 23, 2011

Governor Cuomo Announces New York Awarded $354.4 Million in Federal Funds for High-Speed Rail Projects

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced New York was awarded a total of $354.4 million in federal funding from the United States Department of Transportation for three projects that advance New York's high-speed rail plans. Shortly after being elected, then Governor-elect Cuomo wrote to Transportation Secretary LaHood urging him to direct any federal high-speed rail money rejected by other states to New York. "New York stands ready to use this federal money to rebuild our transportation infrastructure, expand high speed rail, and put New Yorkers back to work. In April I applied for federal grant money to fund promising projects that would push New York's high-speed rail plans forward and create jobs," Governor Cuomo said. "Today, the US Department of Transportation awarded New York $354.4 million for three projects. These initiatives have tremendous potential and will be a significant factor in ushering our economy and transportation system into the 21st century. I thank Secretary LaHood and his team for their careful review of the projects." In 2010, Wisconsin and Ohio returned their federal funding. Of that money, New York received $7.3 million. In February 2011, Florida rejected $2.4 billion in funding. $2 billion of those funds were redirected to states through a competitive grant process. On behalf of New York State, Governor Cuomo applied for $517 million for various initiatives from across the State. The projects cover an array of vital infrastructure upgrades needed throughout New York that would continue to lay the groundwork for wide-scale high-speed service. The following projects received awards: Northeast Corridor Congestion Relief:Harold Interlocking: $295 million to alleviate major delays for trains coming in and out of Manhattan with new routes that allow Amtrak trains to bypass the busiest passenger rail junction in the nation. This is for the largest application by New York, and funds the entire amount requested for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) Harold Interlocking plan. The Amtrak bypass routes that will be constructed as part of this project will greatly improve reliability, on-time performance, and travel time for existing Amtrak service between New York and Boston and will provide the direct path through Harold Interlocking that is needed to make high-speed rail possible on the Northeast Corridor in the future. New York – Empire Corridor Capacity Improvements: $58 million to construct upgrades to tracks, stations and signals, improving rail operations along the Empire Corridor. This includes replacement of the Schenectady Station and construction of a fourth station track at the Albany - Rensselaer Station, one of the corridor's most significant bottlenecks. Empire Corridor West: Rochester Intermodal Station: $1.4 million for a preliminary engineering and environmental analysis for a new Rochester Intermodal Station on the Empire Corridor, connecting passengers with additional transit and pedestrian options. Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted nearly 100 applications, competing to be part of an historic investment that will create tens of thousands of jobs, improve mobility and stimulate American manufacturing. ###

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