Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement today applauding U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood’s announcement that over $800 million in high speed rail funds rejected by Florida Governor Rick Scott will be used to enhance high speed rail service in the Northeast and Empire Corridors. Senator Gillibrand wrote to Secretary LaHood in February requesting these funds be redirected to the New York region. These investments includes $450 million for infrastructure and signal improvements along Amtrak’s heaviest traveled section of the Northeast Corridor (NYC-DC), $58 million for capacity improvements along the Empire Corridor, including construction of a fourth track at the Albany-Rensselaer Station and a new Schenectady Station, $295 million to reduce congestion related to the Harold Interlocking in New York City, and $1.4 million for planning and engineering for the new Rochester Intermodal Station. Gillibrand has been a long time supporter of increased federal investments in high speed rail to create jobs, and has advocated extensively to Secretary LaHood on behalf of New York State.
“I am thrilled that Secretary LaHood has awarded these investments to the New York Region where ridership continues to grow, and I am thankful for his leadership. Clearly, there is a demand to increase rail transit in New York and across the Northeast. These investments will make a major impact in meeting that demand by relieving congestion and increasing the reliability of service.
“There is no doubt, we must expand high speed rail to connect more travelers, workers and businesses, create new construction jobs immediately and provide an economic engine to fuel our growth for the long term. Today, we have taken a major step closer to the goal of a robust high speed rail system for our State and Region that will help grow the nation’s economy. I will keep fighting for investments to expand high speed rail to every corner of New York.”
Expanding high speed rail across New York has been a top priority for Senator Gillibrand throughout her time in the Senate. In February, Senator Gillibrand urged Secretary LaHood to redirect $2.4 billion in federal funding for high speed rail to New York that had been turned away by Florida Governor Rick Scott. In a letter last month to Secretary LaHood, Senator Gillibrand urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to award funding to New York State Department of Transportation and Amtrak’s applications for high speed rail infrastructure. In May 2010, Gillibrand urged for the appointment of a new high speed rail project manager at the state level to ensure New York is securing and managing all federal funds available to us. In January 2010, Senator Gillibrand helped secure $151 million for high speed rail projects across New York State.