State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is pushing a "high speed" rail project to connect Buffalo to NYC. Mayor Roefaro is joining in.
I have to support Mayor Roefaro on this. IF this project is implemented, UTICA MUST be part of it. This area has been left off the roster too many times from other state projects.
That said, is this something that we should be pursuing at this time?
For this same "Empire Corridor" from Buffalo to NYC, wouldn't it make more sense, be a bigger economic boost, and be a lot easier to implement and quicker TO SIMPLY REMOVE THE TOLLS FROM THE NYS THRUWAY?????
Somehow "high speed rail" has suddenly become a mantra.
“There is no question whether or not New York needs high speed rail, because the answer is yes, definitely," Arcuri said in a prepared statement.
"No question whether or not New York needs high speed rail"? I think that is a very big question. Are there any studies to support the alleged need? Or projections with supporting data of what the economic impact of high speed rail will mean?
The first question is what is "high speed?" If you are talking 300 mph, there MAY be a potential to transform the economy, because with travel time to NYC being less than an hour, it plugs Utica into the NYC commutter zone. If we are talking only 150 mph, that is unlikly to transform anything. For most people, any time savings over thruway travel will be eaten up getting to and from the train station.
The second big question is what will it cost to operate the system. What will a ticket cost? If costs can be reduced to make it feasible to do a ROUND TRIP fare from Utica to NYC in the $30-50 range (IE similar to commutter fares from Suffolk County into NYC), then high speed rail might have some potential -- But right now low speed rail is about double this cost already, so high speed rail will likely be more expensive.
In its era, the Erie Canal was a brilliant government move. It enabled goods and raw materials to be transported at extremely low cost and at a competitive speed compared to other modes of transportation at the time. It transformed the economy of Upstate NY. Even now, its ability to transport heavy materials at the lowest fuel cost is unmatched . . . but now the canal lies virtually unused.
What "need" is this project going to fill? If people jump on the train, what part of the economy will lose?
It's fun to dream about being able to zip from one place to another. And its OK for public officials to be thinking about things that could transform our economy. But it is quite another for public officials to latch onto something as the "big solution" to our problems without the facts and data to support their conclusion.