New York Governor Plans New Push For High-Speed Rail

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ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’ll be making a push to advance the idea of high-speed rail in New York when he delivers his State of the State address next month.

High-speed rail is one of those economic development and transportation issues that gets touted by politicians, business and transportation groups from time to time in New York.

FILE – In this Jan. 11, 2018 file photo, a Brightline train sits at the station in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Virgin Trains USA, which runs the Brightline train, is planning a high-speed train between Las Vegas and Southern California. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

And the governor says it’s time to talk about it again. He says that he will convene outside experts to re-examine past high-speed rail plans and recommend a new plan for how to build faster, greener, more reliable high-speed rail in New York.

Cuomo notes that much of the state’s population lives a short distance from the Empire Corridor, which connects the state from New York City to Buffalo. But he says those rail lines also average just about 51 miles an hour.

The governor says that previous recommendations have consistently  estimated that high speed rail projects would take decades and be unaffordable. Cuomo says the panel of engineers he plans to convene would review these past studies, as well as strategies that countries all over the world have used to build high-speed rail systems.

“High speed rail is transforming economies around the world. We’ve been told that bringing this technology to our state is too expensive, too difficult and would take too long – that’s not an acceptable attitude for New York,” Cuomo said. “When we developed our plan to repair the L Train Tunnel, the team of experts we assembled questioned every assumption and brought new creativity to a seemingly intractable problem. We not only found a way to repair the tunnel without shutting down service, we are doing it ahead of schedule. This kind of outside-the-box thinking will help us determine how we could deliver high speed rail for New York.”