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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2009

SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND PUSH TO CREATE PASSENGER RAIL BETWEEN BINGHAMTON AND NYC - NEW SERVICE WOULD SPUR MUCH NEEDED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTHERN TIER


In Personal Letter to President, Senators Push for Expanded Passenger Rail Service Between Upstate NY, Pennsylvania and NYC

At Senators' Urging, Amtrak Feasibility Study Is Underway - Will Show Viability of New Rail Line and Economic Benefit of Project

Schumer, Gillibrand: Now Is The Time To Build Momentum And a Real Plan For This Important Project

Today U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Robert P. Casey (PA), and Arlen Specter (PA), wrote to the President urging him to fully support a rail link between Binghamton, NY and Scranton, PA allowing residents of the Southern Tier easy access to New York City.  Expanding passenger rail service between these cities would afford commuters an important new transportation option and could have a profound impact on economic development in the region.  At the Senators’ urging, an Amtrak feasibility study is already underway which will analyze the costs and benefits of the new project and show the potential economic impact of the new rail system.  President Obama made positive comments about the proposal at a White House meeting several weeks ago. 
 
“Connecting the greater Binghamton area to the greater New York metropolitan area has the potential to unleash tremendous economic energy,” said Schumer. “To make the Southern Tier an even better place to build a business and create new jobs, we must invest in our rail network to increase access to transportation and increase economic growth. President Obama has already demonstrated support for expanding our passenger rail infrastructure and I will do everything I can to get this project from an idea, to a plan to a reality.”
 
“This month, I saw first-hand the economic development priorities in the Southern Tier. Expanding passenger rail from Binghamton to New York City is an essential component of our economic recovery, will spur job growth across the Southern Tier, and become a long term economic development engine for the region,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Expanded rail service means immediate job creation for construction and local suppliers and long-term economic development opportunities in business growth and increased tourism. I will work with Senator Schumer and our Congressional Delegation to make this a reality.”
 
Over the years, Amtrak has proven to be indispensable to the economy and business community throughout the Northeast region.  Every year millions of riders use Amtrak to commute to and from work and for their vacation travel. New service between Binghamton and Scranton with a destination of New York City, will allow more business and leisure travelers from Upstate New York and Pennsylvania to access all that New York City has to offer. 
 
As energy prices become more and more unpredictable and our reliability on fossil fuels increases every year, it is critical that Americans have an affordable, alternative means of transportation, and rail is once again poised to be the mode of the future, particularly in New York and Pennsylvania. The Amtrak feasibility study, which is already underway, is an essential first step to determining the viability of this project and will aim to analyze the costs and benefits of passenger service while documenting commuter patterns.
 
The new rail project will also compliment the existing effort to return commuter based service between Scranton, Pennsylvania and Hoboken, New Jersey, known as the New Jersey-Pennsylvania Lackawanna Cutoff Rail Restoration. The proposed rail service between Binghamton and Scranton could link up to the Lackawanna Cutoff project, potentially creating a rail link from Binghamton to New York City, via Scranton.    
 
President Obama recently announced that he would likely support this new project. In an effort to gain the President’s complete endorsement, Senators Schumer, Casey, Specter, and Gillibrand sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to fully support their proposal for the new rail line.
 
The Senators wrote, “We believe this rail passenger restoration project reflects the precise mandates of your new budget and plan for moving our great country forward by emphasizing economic development, environmental stewardship, and infrastructure rehabilitation.”
 
A full copy of the letter is below
 
 
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20502
 
Dear President Obama:
 
On behalf of New York and Pennsylvania we write in support of efforts to create passenger rail service between Binghamton, NY and Scranton, PA with a destination of New York, NY.  We are excited that you endorsed this proposal at a White House meeting a few weeks ago, and we are happy to report that, at our urging, an Amtrak feasibility study is already underway for the route. Expanding passenger rail service between these cities will afford commuters an important new transportation option and could have a profound impact on economic development in the region. 
 
We believe this project will compliment the existing effort to return commuter based service between Scranton, Pennsylvania and Hoboken, New Jersey, known as the New Jersey-Pennsylvania Lackawanna Cutoff Rail Restoration.  The proposed rail service between Binghamton and Scranton could link up to the Lackawanna Cutoff project, potentially creating a rail link from Binghamton to New York City, via Scranton and Hoboken.    
 
The Amtrak feasibility study is an essential first step to determining the viability of this project and will aim to analyze the costs and benefits of passenger service while documenting commuter patterns.  We are anxiously awaiting the results, which we understand will be released shortly.   
 
Amtrak is indispensable to the economy and business community.  With this new service, more business and leisure travelers from Upstate New York and Northeast Pennsylvania would be able to access all that New York City has to offer.  Rail was the original form of mass transportation; one that helped shaped our nation into the global economic leader that it is today. It connected the cities and towns, created jobs, and spawned a new way of thinking about commercial transactions.  With energy prices more unpredictable than ever and our reliability on fossil fuels increasing every year, it is critical that Americans have an affordable, alternative means of transportation, and rail is once again poised to be the mode of the future, particularly in our states. 
 
We believe this rail passenger restoration project reflects the precise mandates of your new budget and plan for moving our great country forward by emphasizing economic development, environmental stewardship, and infrastructure rehabilitation.  Thank you for your support of this important project.  If you have any questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact one of our offices.
 
 
Sincerely,
 
 
 
______________________________                        ____________________________
Charles E. Schumer                                                      Kirsten Gillibrand                                 
 
 
 
 
 
_______________________________                      ____________________________
Arlen Specter                                                               Robert P. Casey, Jr. 
 

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