Rep. Maloney Calls for True High-Speed Rail in Northeast Corridor
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan-Queens) called for more speed in implementing high-speed rail in testimony before a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing titled, “Northeast Corridor Future: Options for High-speed Rail Development and Opportunities for Private Sector Participation” led by retiring Chair of the committee, Rep. John Mica (R-FL). Mica, in his opening remarks, reiterated his commitment to high speed rail in the Northeast Corridor.
“The Northeast is the most congested rail corridor; we have 20% of the country’s population squeezed into 2% of the land area, and our airports are responsible for 70% of the nation’s air traffic delays,” Maloney said. “Yet the current average speed on the NY-Boston route is just 68 mph, hardly better than interstate speed—and far behind high-speed rail systems in Japan, China and Europe where 185 mph is reached. America is not just lagging, we’re not even trying to innovate. That’s just not the American way.
“Amtrak, the MTA and Governor Cuomo have all expressed openness to public-private partnerships as long as labor agreements are honored. That means government stands ready to work with the private sector to work together creatively to solve this problem. I’m certain that real high-speed rail in the Northeast will be profitable.
“In tough economic times, building true high-speed rail would pack a double punch: creating good jobs constructing the projects and spurring economic growth once the projects are built.”
After Florida declined Federal funds for high-speed rail as part of the Recovery Act, Maloney urged President Obama to direct a portion of that funding to New York. The Administration responded by directing $295 million of those funds to improve the “Harold Interlocking,” a century-old intersection of 14 tracks in the Sunnyside, Queens rail yards -- which are in New York’s 14th Congressional District
-- where hundreds of Northeast Corridor trains converge each day.
This bottleneck has plagued train traffic for decades and eliminating it will reduce train congestion and further pave the way for true high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor. It will also create over 9,000 jobs over a five-year period and will help boost economic activity by an estimated $500 million.
Maloney is also a longtime advocate of improved urban mass transit. The two largest mass transit projects in the nation are being constructed in her 14th Congressional District, the first leg of the Second Avenue Subway and the East Side Access project linking the Long Island Railroad with Grand Central Station. Those projects are estimated to have created over 38,000 jobs.