Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New York State invests $22M in Albany-NYC route for faster trip times

Good news out of Albany. The New York State legislature is investing $22 million to reduce trip times between Albany and New York City.

The Business Review of the Capital Region has the story here.

The man who once called Amtrak's intercity passenger rail service "embarrassing as hell" was delighted on Wednesday to unveil the first initiatives toward bringing high-speed rail to the state.

Joseph Bruno, the state Senate's Majority Leader, announced $22 million in projects that bring the state closer to that goal. Half of that money will go to the Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station to add a fourth train track, extend platforms and demolish an existing building.


The remaining $10 million will be spent in New York City. An Amtrak station in Hudson, N.Y., will get $6 million in track improvements, and $4 million will be spent stabilizing a rocky slope into Penn Station to improve safety and prevent trains from having to slow down in that stretch.

This is the model for high speed rail: project-specific funds that solve particular problems in the existing Amtrak service. The faster the trip times, the more frequencies we can squeeze out of existing equipment and labor crews.

We should be investing in the neighborhood of $10 billion annually in rail projects in the country.

Congratulations to the New York State legislature, particularly Senator Majority Leader Bruno, for prioritizing these projects.

Since the ultimate corridor for better service is Chicago-New York (that's where most of the intercity travel is in the country, so I've been told), this investment is good news for the Midwest as well as New York State.

It's absurd that it takes 17 hours to get between Chicago and New York. It should take 10.


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