One Week After Delivering $2.7 Million From MTA To Stewart Airport For NYC Rail-Link Study, Schumer Secures Additional $2 Million From Dot To Bankroll Vital Next Step -- The Environmental Impact Statement
Last Week, Schumer and the MTA Announced Initial $2.7 Million for Alternatives Analysis this Summera Crucial First Step in Creating a One-Seat Ride from Orange and Rockland Counties and Rapidly Growing Stewart Airport to NYCToday, Schumer Announces Additional $2 Million to Fund the Environmental Impact Statement, the Next Step to Link Stewart with NYCSchumer: We have the momentum! Let's move Full Steam ahead to get the One-Seat Rail Link Done for the People of Orange and Ro
Only one week after announcing $2.7 million dollars to fund an Alternatives Analysis, a crucial first step in creating a oneseat ride from Orange County to NYC, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced an additional $2 million to fund the project's Environmental Impact Study. After intense pressure from the Senator to have more federal funding steered towards Stewart Airport, the Department of Transportation will send $2 million to the airport for the oneseat ride raillink's Environmental Impact Statement, a necessary step that assesses the environmental impact the project would have on the surrounding region.
Once completed, the project would create the longdesired rail link that would extend MetroNorth's Port Jervis Line to the airport in order to create a direct rail connection between the airport and New York City, via New Jersey Transit and ARC. Despite MTA and PA's initial agreement to move forward with the plan, funding has been slowcoming.
However the $2.7 million Schumer announced last week and today's $2 million will jumpstart this long delayed project, allowing the study to begin in the next few months.
"In one week, we've secured a remarkable windfall of cash for Stewart Airport and jumpstarted plans to establish a oneseat ride from Orange County to New York City," said Senator Schumer. " We have the momentum! Let's move full steam ahead to get the oneseat rail link done for the people of Orange and Rockland"
The additional $2 million in funding from the DOT will come from the Urban Partnership Agreement funds. This money was originally promised to New York in conjunction with the congestion pricing proposal for New York City, with 2 million set aside to study transit alternatives at Stewart Airport. Today, Schumer announced that the DOT is restoring this commitment to the MTA and that the funding will be used for the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) phase of this project.
In February, the MTA and PA announced they would partner to conduct an Alternatives Analysis to connect the Metro North Port Jervis line to Stewart Airport. The Alternatives Analysis is the first step in the project-a precursor to the Environmental Impact Study needed to break ground. The PA originally committed $2.7 and the MTA was planning to match that commitment, so they submitted a federal appropriations request to obtain those dollars.
Last week, Schumer announced that the MTA has agreed to provide the $2.7 million from its capital budget to begin the Alternatives Analysis, which will now be able to begin in the next few months. Schumer plans to fight to secure funding in the FY2009 budget to help support the next step-the Environmental Impact Study-estimated to cost around $7 million.
In 2006 Schumer originally unveiled his plan to create a oneseat direct connection from Stewart Airport directly into Manhattan. The proposed rail link would create a spur off the Port Jervis line from Salisbury Mills to the airport and would make oneseat rides possible from Orange County into Manhattan. The airport's master plan calls for a rail station opposite the terminal, adjacent to a parking garage to be constructed where the parking lot is today. Schumer said that expanding access to the airport, with projects like the rail link and Drury Lane is critical to attracting new lowcost air service to the region.
Orange County residents have too few options to use mass transit and commuters headed in to Manhattan must take an hour long train ride and change trains in New Jersey in order to cross the river. Commuters therefore turn to their cars, and end up stuck in on either the Tappan Zee or George Washington Bridges and then Manhattan traffic. In fact, Orange/Rockland counties have the highest percentage of work trips by car from West of Hudson points, including New Jersey.
Each day almost 30,000 people from Rockland and Orange Counties travel by car to work in Manhattan. Many of these commuters drive over Tappan Zee Bridge or George Washington Bridges, two of the most heavily traveled bridges in the region and the nation. On an average weekday, the GWB handles 160,000 vehicles crossing in each direction. And this traffic will only get worse with 72% expected growth of suburban households between over the next 30 years will occur in Orange and Rockland Counties and New Jersey suburbs. This dramatic growth will only lead to greater congestion on Hudson Valley road and bridges, which are already at capacity and experience delays of 30 minutes to an hour or more during peak periods. According to Schumer, if no action is taken, in just two decades, another 45,000 cars and 70,000 additional people are expected to drive their cars to Manhattan for work.
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