Tuesday, April 05, 2011

New York Makes Bid To Capture High Speed Rail Money Rejected By Florida

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo intends to seek $517 million in federal high speed rail money that was rejected by Florida when Gov. Rick Scott killed a high speed rail project between Orlando and Tampa.

New York's rail system could desperately use the funds, and the money will help improve track and station conditions between New York and Albany, although there are a total of eight projects statewide:
The projects include:
Northeast Corridor Congestion Relief: Harold Interlocking: The largest application is for $294.7 million for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) Harold Interlocking plan. This project calls for the construction of a new conflict-free route for Amtrak along two miles of the Northeast Corridor where Amtrak service must cross over a flow of MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) trains, resulting in significant and routine delays for Northeast Corridor service, particularly during peak periods.

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.

Moynihan Station Phase 2 Final Design Project: The Governor is seeking $49.8 million to fund the final design of Phase 2 of the Moynihan Station Project, providing new passenger and back-of-house facilities for Amtrak. The Project will improve operational reliability and on-time performance at the station by allowing trains and people to move more efficiently through the Penn Station complex.

Northeast Corridor Congestion Relief: New Upper Hudson Line High-Capacity Signal System - Croton to Poughkeepsie: The $112 million project will construct a new high-capacity signal system to replace the present outdated signal system between Croton-Harmon and Poughkeepsie. The project will provide for higher capacity and reliability to all users and will result in improved on-time-performance and increased capacity.

Empire Corridor Capacity Improvements: Final Phase Signal Improvements Hudson Line: At a cost of $18.6 million this project will replace the final 48 miles of the Hudson Line signal system between Poughkeepsie and Albany and bury the signal cable. The current system is 30 years old and outages in inclement weather account for most of the delay affecting all trains between Albany and New York City.

Empire Corridor Capacity Improvements: Final Phase 4th Track Construction at Rensselaer Station: This $35.4 million project will complete work at the new Rensselaer Station which was opened in 2002. The funding will be used to construct a new fourth track, extended platforms, realignment of existing tracks and new signal system.

Empire Corridor Capacity Improvements: Final Phase Track Construction at Schenectady Station: The Governor would use $4.1 million to make major upgrades to the Schenectady Station. Built in 1970, the station is in poor condition with inadequate track and platforms. CDTA has designed a new station and tracks and has State and local funding in place for constructing the station. This project will provide for construction of the track and platforms and complete the funding package necessary for the Schenectady Station replacement.

Empire Corridor West: Rochester Intermodal Station: The City of Rochester plans to replace the inadequate, 37 year old temporary Rochester Station with a new Rochester Intermodal Station. This $1.4 million project would complete the preliminary engineering and environmental work.

Empire Corridor West: Niagara Falls High-speed Rail Inspection and Maintenance Facility: This project will use $1.75 million to conduct the preliminary engineering and environmental analysis necessary to construct the first heated, in-door maintenance facility west of Schenectady on the Empire Corridor West. Employees at the present facility built in 1978 service 728 locomotives, 2,912 coaches and 728 food service cars annually. The facility has no enclosed heated building to thaw out frozen equipment and Amtrak mechanics must use torpedo heaters and hand held torches to get equipment operating. This project will prepare the construction of an enclosed heated building, inspection pit, compressed plant air, and a track catch basin in which to capture water and oils.
However, notably absent among the projects is the use of any of those funds towards the construction of the Gateway Tunnel, which supersedes the ARC tunnel killed by Gov. Christie, which would enable high speed rail to access Penn Station.

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