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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2009

SCHUMER: REGULAR AMTRAK SERVICE TO LYONS AND GENEVA COULD BRING THOUSANDS OF TOURISTS TO HEART OF FINGER LAKES REGION; URGES NYSDOT TO REQUEST STUDY OF STOP IN LYONS WITH SPUR TO GENEVA


Frequent And Regular Amtrak Service To Finger Lakes Region Could Be Huge Boon To Tourism Industry, Local Economy

Schumer Requests New York State Get Ball Rolling, Request Amtrak Study Of An Extension Of Existing Service To Geneva, With A Stop In Lyons; Tracks Already Exist Along Rt. 14

Today, Schumer Calls on NYSDOT and Amtrak to Conduct Feasibility Study for Passenger Rail Service Along the Rt. 14 Corridor

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged NYSDOT to request Amtrak conduct a feasibility study for a passenger rail service to connect Geneva and Lyons, New York to the already existing Amtrak line between Rochester and Syracuse. The project would provide a direct rail link to the heart of the Finger Lakes, bringing tourists and a profound economic boost to the area. There is an already existing Amtrak line between Syracuse and Rochester, but no stop between the two cities.  Schumer has long been an advocate for a stop in Lyons, and today is urging the NYSDOT of transportation and Amtrak to study the feasibility of such a stop in addition to a 14 mile spur south that would run along the existing Rt. 14 corridor, owned by Norfolk Southern, to Geneva. The Finger Lakes Region currently lacks sufficient air service, and today Schumer said that providing rail service to the area could provide easy access to thousands of tourists from everywhere in the state, including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and even New York City.

“Connecting the Finger Lakes region to the existing Amtrak line is a win-win that holds tremendous potential to boost economic development in the region, and provide easier access to one of the most beautiful locations in our state and even the country,” said Schumer. “Besides giving Finger Lakes residents vital new transportation option, it would also allow tourists to more effectively tap into the regions first-class vacation spots, and access an area of stunning beauty. A feasibility study is the essential first step to making this idea a reality.”

In a letter to NY Transportation Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee and Amtrak CEO Joseph H. Boardman, Schumer today urged the company to conduct a feasibility study that analyzes the costs and benefits of passenger service and documents commuter and tourist patterns. The study is intended to compliment Schumer and other’s previous efforts to secure an Amtrak stop in Lyons. The 85 mile stretch between Syracuse and Rochester is the longest in the state without a stop, and Schumer said that a study showing the benefits of a spur to Geneva could give the Lyons project a boost. Once the state requests this study, Amtrak can move forward with the project.

In addition to bringing tourists to the region, the passenger rail expansion would provide countless benefits to Finger Lakes residents who would take advantage of this new service to ultimately gain access to the rest of the state via rail. Additionally, with this new service, more business and leisure travelers from other parts of the state would be able to access the many assets—from academic facilities to businesses and cultural opportunities—that the Finger Lakes has to offer, and tap into the local economy for new economic development opportunities.

Schumer said: “The fact that New Yorker’s from across the state don’t have easy access to the beautiful Finger Lakes region and all it provides is a crime. Providing comfortable and rapid rail access to the area will not only boost tourism dollars and reduce property tax burdens, but will allow people from across the state to experience everything the Finger Lakes Region has to offer. The State and Federal government have renewed their commitment to rail, so the time to act is now; we can’t let the train pull out of the station without us.”
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