Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Everyone knows I like railroad stories. Anything about Subways, the MTA and High Speed Rail gets my attention. Link that with the desire to pump up tourism, jobs and the Fed Stimulus, and it becomes news.

It seems our upstate representatives have secured their portion of the High Speed Rail monies needed for their track modifications. This would equate to almost $5 Million for physical improvements at road crossings from Albany to Buffalo. Similar funds were allocated for the Albany-NYC corridor previously.

This small sum is merely a blip on the Federal level since the whole project is expected to cost $8 Billion nation wide over 10 years. Our biggest concern locally is getting commuter rail on the west side of the Hudson River to better serve Ulster County.

The goal is to increase train speeds which currently average less than 80 mph to 110 mph and eventually 150 mph. Sure these trains would have to stop here in Kingston, right? Wouldn't you take the train from a new midtown station to Manhattan? The money for both sections of the NY upgrade are to be awarded by the the end of the year.

All of this rail work will take atleast five years to acomplish, so this isnt a quick fix for our current economic downturn, but the prospect of commuter rail may rekindle interest from companies that may have over looked the western Hudson Valley region based simply on the lack of transportation.

This will be good for business, tourism and the environment, reducing congestion and pollution from cars and planes. With an evident push for green industry and the support of all of the environmental groups throughout the region, this will undoubtedly be welcomed spending by anyone paying attention.

Now if we could only upgrade the "final mile" issue.


Anonymous said...

im all for being able to get to my hometown much easier and hopefully cheaper. i think it would be great for ulster.

Anonymous said...

Nice! A train to Manhattan or north from Kingston would be fantastic. The repercussions will be amazing with people living in Kingston but being able to do an early morning commute to work in the city on a daily basis. In a couple of decades I would imagine that Manhattan would be a great metropolis with Kingston on the outskirts like a suburb. What an interesting thought. History will also flourish because people like quirky things for postcards.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see it also, but we must be careful. In the northern 'burbs of Baltimore a light rail system was installed and unfortunately several communities disallowed the train from stopping because of the transient crime and drug dealers that it brought in. Hopefully we can prevent the same type of activity.

Anonymous said...

As a grad student in Urban & Regional Planning the prospect of a high-speed commuter rail is exciting. This recent activity would also explain the development(s) slated (AMD in Albany, the Landing, Sailor's Cove,) for the near future. While I'm pleased to see a Hudson Valley Renaissance in the works, I hope that the area can retain its unique history, architecture, and character. In addition, I hope that housing scarcity and affordability aren't sacrificed for this 'pareto optimality'-esque development model.

Ideally, in five years or so, I'd like to see a) a high-speed rail line, b) an expanded recreational rail (utilizing the Catskill/D &H lines), c)maybe a college or university center in Kingston specializing in Solar/Alternative Energy technology, and d) (above all) housing available to all who need it! Just sharing my thoughts.