May 17, 2012

Schumer & Gillibrand Push to Secure Federal Investment to Build New Intermodal Transportation Center in Downtown Rochester – Project Would Prime City for High-Speed Rail Service, Unleash Business Development & Job Creation

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Major Push To Secure $19.5 Million DOT Investment For City’s Project to Build Multi-Modal Transportation Facility That Would Replace Old Tracks & Existing Amtrak Station; Project Would Position Rochester to Accommodate High-Speed Rail Passenger Service In Future

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand urged the Department of Transportation to select the City of Rochester’s application for a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant, for Rochester’s Intermodal Transportation Center (RITC). The RITC project will replace the existing Intercity Passenger Rail station and single low-level platform with a new multi-modal facility and a high-level island platform for efficient and convenient passenger boarding. It will also replace associated tracks and signals, improve parking capacity and provide ADA accessibility to the facility which will incorporate intermodal connectivity to bus and non-motorized transportation. In a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood, the Senators urged that this TIGER Request of $19.5 million be granted for the construction of this new station, which would create 475 short-term jobs and 80 long-term jobs in the Rochester region, modernize the Amtrak station, and position Rochester to accommodate high-speed rail passenger service. 

“The construction of Rochester’s Intermodal Transportation Center is critical for improved rail and bus service for Rochester residents, and will open the gates for high-speed rail passenger service and ensuing economic and business growth in the whole Rochester area,” said Schumer. “That is why I’m urging the Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood to support Rochester’s application for TIGER grant funding, which would allow the construction of this new transportation center to be used by Amtrak, Greyhound, the local transit authority, buses, shuttles and more. This project will transform the current station, that is outdated and inaccessible for Rochester residents, all while setting the stage for business development and economic growth in the surrounding Rochester area. This new intermodal station project is a win-win-win for the City, as it will inject millions of dollars into the local economy, create over 500 jobs, and modernize Rochester’s transportation and rail system for the future.”

“Investing in transportation infrastructure is one of the fastest and most effective ways to create jobs now, and lay the foundation for more jobs tomorrow,” Senator Gillibrand said. “An intermodal station in downtown Rochester for new high-speed rail service and the full fleet of public transportation will connect more of our workers and businesses, support hundreds of jobs, help attract new businesses, and get our economy on the move.”  

Schumer and Gillibrand are urging DOT’s Secretary LaHood to support Rochester’s Intermodal Transportation Center, which will greatly enhance the City of Rochester, complement high-speed rail development, and provide travelers and Rochester residents with a more modern, safe, and accessible transportation facility. The current 1970s-era Amtrak station was designed to be only a temporary structure and simply cannot accommodate today’s ridership needs, including the fact that it is not an ADA accessible facility. In addition, the current station cannot house the ticketing and staging area for intrastate bus service and has inadequate food and retail services for passengers. In addition, the high-level rail platforms at the current station inhibit the timely boarding of rail passengers. 

Schumer and Gillibrand also highlighted that this TIGER investment would set the stage for high-speed rail passenger service in Rochester in the future. More than $200 million in upgrades are now in the works to upgrade the Empire Corridor across Upstate New York to improve Amtrak’s on-time reliability performance and to usher in higher speed passenger rail service.  The modernization of this station, its tracks, its platforms and more, will allow Rochester to accommodate this service.  The senators also noted that a new Intermodal Transportation Center would have a ripple effect on the downtown community, and would set the stage for further business development and economic growth surrounding the station, especially given the potential for high-speed service in coming years. The Intermodal Transportation Center will be utilized by not only Amtrak, but also by Greyhound/Trailways buses, local taxis, Rochester Genesee Regional Transit Authority bus and shuttle service, hotel shuttles, car rental agencies, pedestrians, and bicyclists. 

A copy of the letter appears below:

The Honorable Ray LaHood

Secretary

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue SE

Washington, DC 20590

 

Dear Secretary LaHood: 

As you make the final evaluations and prepare to announce recipients of Round IV TIGER grant funding later this month, we write to underscore our support of the project application prepared by the New York State Department of Transportation to construct a new Rochester Intermodal Transportation Center (RITC) in downtown Rochester.  

As you know firsthand, the current 1970s era Amtrak station was designed to be only a temporary structure and thus is not ADA compliant and cannot accommodate today’s ridership needs.  There are few if any food or retail services available for waiting passengers and connections to other transportation modes and the city as a whole is very limited.  For example, the facility cannot house the current ticketing and staging requirements of the intrastate bus service which now must utilize temporary trailers erected on an adjacent parking lot while the lack of proper high level rail platforms inhibit the efficient  and timely boarding of rail passengers. 

Beyond the needs of today’s traveler for safe and seamless access to transportation services, this new station will ensure that Rochester will be positioned to accommodate future high speed rail passenger service.  More than $200 million in upgrades are now being undertaken to upgrade the Empire Corridor across Upstate New York to improve Amtrak’s on-time reliability performance and to usher in higher speed passenger rail service.  The additional trackage, modern signaling, and high-level platforms called for in this project will enable travelers to, from, and through Rochester to connect to high speed rail service. 

Lastly, the new station will create a new gateway into the City of Rochester and help catalyze economic develop in the surrounding neighborhood which has suffered from disinvestment for many years.  At full build out the project will create an estimated 475 construction jobs, 80 long term direct jobs, and benefit nearby hotels, retail, dining and tourist attractions.  

The new Intermodal Transportation Center will greatly enhance both the City of Rochester, complement high speed rail development, and provide travelers with a long overdue modern, safe, and accessible facility from which they can seamlessly navigate to and around Rochester.  We appreciate your consideration of this worthy project. 

 

Sincerely

 

Charles E Schumer                  Kirsten E. Gillibrand

U.S. Senator                            U.S. Senator