Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that at their urging, the City of Rochester has been awarded a highly competitive $15 million 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 with two edges. 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.
On April 9th, Schumer and Gillibrand wrote to the Department of Transportation in support of this funding award citing how the needs of the community have outgrown the current station that was constructed in 1978 as a temporary facility, as it does not meet today’s ADA standards and requires extensive repairs. Then again in May 2012 on the eve of the Department of Transportation’s determination reviews, Schumer and Gillibrand urged Department of Transportation Secretary Lahood in a personal letter to award Rochester this federal investment for 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.
“This grant paves the way for improved rail and transportation service for Rochester residents, and opens the gates for high-speed rail passenger service and ensuing economic growth and job creation in Downtown Rochester,” said Schumer. “This project will transform the current station, that is outdated, inaccessible and unsafe for Rochester residents, all while setting the stage for business development and economic growth in the surrounding neighborhoods of Downtown Rochester. 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.”
In April and May, Schumer and Gillibrand called on 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 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 modernization of this station, its tracks, its platforms and more, will allow Rochester to accommodate this service. The representatives 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 by Amtrak, but also by Greyhound, Trailways, local taxis, Rochester Genesee Regional Transit Authority bus and shuttle service, hotel shuttles, car rental agencies, pedestrians, and bicyclists.