FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 10, 2008
Schumer Builds Formidable Bi-Partisan Congressional Coalition To Ramp-Up Pressure On Amtrak To Study Bingo-Scranton Train Line To Connect Southern Tier To NYC
Binghamton Area Currently Lacks Direct Air and Rail Routes to NYC Metropolitan Region
With Scranton-Hoboken Line Moving Forward, Expanding Rail Service from Scranton to Binghamton Would Provide Vital Link to NYC and Profoundly Impact Economic Development in the Region
Schumer Announces Powerful Coalition, including U.S. Senators from Pennsylvania, to Push Amtrak to Conduct Feasibility Study for a Passenger Rail Service between NY and Scranton
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he has built a powerful Congressional coalition to pressure Amtrak to conduct a feasibility study for a passenger rail service to connect Binghamton, New York and Scranton, Pennsylvania along the Interstate 81 rail corridor. The project would provide a direct link to NYC for Binghamton area residents, affording them an important new transportation option, as well as boosting economic development. The Binghamton area currently lacks direct air and train service to New York City. The coalition consists of fellow New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and Arlen Spector.
“With this powerful coalition lending their support, its "all aboard" for this new rail connection between Binghamton and Scranton," said Senator Schumer. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to provide Southern Tier residents with speedy train service all the way to New York City. This new coalition gives us the clout we need to get Amtrak to start doing all the necessary studies in order to set up this train route.”
“The addition of a new Amtrak route between Binghamton and Scranton is a winning proposal for both states,” said Senator Clinton. “Amtrak is critical to the transportation infrastructure of our nation, particularly in the States of New York and Pennsylvania where rail service provides a necessary and affordable option linking commuters to local areas not serviced by the airline industry. This new route will not only give residents of the Southern Tier more travel options including a direct line into New York City, it will also offer local businesses the chance to reach out to new markets help to continue the economic upswing in the region.”
In a letter to Amtrak CEO Alexander Kummant, Schumer along with Clinton and the Pennsylvania Senators urged the agency to conduct a feasibility study that analyzes the costs and benefits of passenger service and documents commuter patterns. The scope of the study is intended to compliment the Binghamton Based Intercity Rail Passenger Study submitted to New York State Department of Transportation in 2002. Once a state requests this study, Amtrak can move forward with the project using existing funds already budgeted for this purpose.
Schumer has stressed that an existing joint Pennsylvania- New Jersey effort to return commuter based service between Scranton and Hoboken, New Jersey, known as the New Jersey-Pennsylvania Lackawanna Cutoff Rail Restoration, holds the potential to create a rail link from Binghamton to New York City, via Scranton and Hoboken. The Lackawanna Cutoff Project will connect with existing New Jersey Transit Lines leading into New York City. The Binghamton - Scranton line would hook up to the Lackawanna Cutoff Project once it’s completed for access to New York City, complementing this project by providing even more access for riders.
This passenger rail expansion would provide countless benefits to Binghamton residents who would take advantage of this new service to ultimately gain access to New York City by way of Scranton and Hoboken. Additionally, with this new service, more business and leisure travelers from New York City would be able to access the many assets—from academic facilities to businesses and cultural opportunities—that Binghamton has to offer, and tap into the local economy for new economic development opportunities.
“It’s terrific news that Senators from both New York and Pennsylvania have shown a serious commitment to this proposa,l which has tremendous potential to boost economic development in the Southern Tier and give local residents vital access to New York City,” added Schumer.
A rail line connecting Binghamton and NYC is especially crucial in the wake of Delta’s decision in July of this year to terminate its air service at the Greater Binghamton Airport, despite ridership spiking 43% over the past year. This decision axed the direct Binghamton-JFK flight and has left potential NYC commuters with no way to easily access the Southern Tier.
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