Gov. David Paterson recently announced a new $10.7 billion state rail improvement plan that calls for improving service between New York City and Niagara Falls and increasing freight rail usage by 25 percent. Under the proposed plan, the speed of intercity passenger rail service from Albany to Niagara Falls would be increased to 110 mph, by adding a third track to the existing rail corridor. Previous studies have estimated that new tracks allowing speeds of up to 110 mph could bring the trip time under four hours a significant improvement over the more than 5 and a half hours the trip currently takes.
New York, like most states, is facing huge deficits. So, while Governor Patterson has said that the state will compete for a portion of the $9.3 billion in federal stimulus funds directed towards high-speed rail, he also acknowledged that there are no guarantees, saying “Obviously, in these economic times, it’s hard to say that anything is actually committed”. However it seems like New York has a good shot. For one thing, the Buffalo-to-Albany corridor already is among 11 federally designated corridors. This includes, the stretch running from Albany to New York City.,
High speed inter-city passenger rail, not only makes for good environmental and energy policy, but it also makes good economic sense., l — especially in the more densely populated areas of the country. Rapid rail networks can help to revitalize whole regions, tying them together from city center to city center. Rail is one of the most energy efficient ways of getting around. Furthermore other major intercity transportation systems, such as the air networks are saturated and many airports especially in larger cities are at or near their capacity. High speed rail offers a viable alternative for medium distance travel.
© 2009, Chris de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.