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Cuomo calls for $517 million in federal rail money

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Wanna go fast! The governor is looking for funding for high-speed rail projects in New York.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is seeking $517 million in high-speed rail funds for New York projects, reports Nick Reisman at State of Politics:

Cuomo’s office said in a statement that the largest of the projects is a $294.7 million plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to construct a new “conflict-free” route for Amtrak along the Northeast corridor. The governor also wants the money to fund the second phase of the final design for Moynihan Station Project in New York City, which is expected to cost $49.8 million. Other rail projects include plans to improve commutes between Albany and Poughkeepsie and another project to replace the train station in Rochester.

Those federal dollars have a booster in Congress, reports Jill Terreri at the Democrat and Chronicle's Vote Up! blog.  Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has sent a letter to the leader of the appropriations committee, urging them to preserve $1 billion in high-speed rail funding.

Amtrak passenger service

Amtrak wants to invest more than a billion dollars in improving rail service in and out of New York City - and it wants the money to come from the federal government.  Herb Jackson reports at The Record that the funds would come from stimulus dollars set aside for high speed rail, and from states like New Jersey, that would benefit from the upgrades.

IBM rail research

Eric Jaffe at Infrastructurist has an interview with Kieth Dierkx at IBM's Global Rail Innovation Center.  Here's part of the exchange - the full interview is definitely worth a read:

[Infrastructurist]: Speaking of high-speed rail, you have worked with rail companies in the Far East. What are the biggest differences between rail travel there and in the U.S.? Dierkx: Some of the differences are cultural. In the U.S., other than in the Northeast Corridor, culturally in many cases we’re used to either air travel or to using our automobile. We’ve organized around doing that. … In Asia, the Chinese experience is one example, but you could look at India and many others. The normal experience is having not owned a car in the past, and also that train travel is part of the everyday experience. You see that pattern in the U.S. in the Northeast, but I think as high-speed rail gets built out in certain corridors you’re going to see more and more people making that choice. Some of it might be time and convenience — I don’t need to drive to the airport, park, go through the security lines. Also look at productivity: being able to be wirelessly connected the entire time. You could look at my San Francisco-to-L.A. transit as work time. I think in general the experiences are more based upon tradition.

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