Posted by: DeWain Feller
Rochester’s new Intermodal Transportation Center is on the drafting table but that does not mean this much needed project is a done deal. [Learn more about the project ] The station and site costs are estimated to be $27.3 million, and track and signal upgrades are approximately $10.4 million, bringing the estimated project cost to $37.7 million. A portion of the funding has been identified, but not all.
So far, the project has won $15 million from a Federal TIGER grant and New York State has pledged $7.5 million. But if the remaining funding does not materialize, plans for the new station will either need to be scaled back or may even put the project in jeopardy.
We want to let our elected officials know that Rochesterians support this project. So we are sending the following letter to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Congresswoman Slaughter, County Executive Brooks, State Senator Robach, and State Assemblyman Gantt.
Read the letter and sign on by leaving your name in the comments section below…
The current station is seriously deficient for a number of reasons. We need a new station just to meet current passenger needs.
- CSX (which owns the tracks on which Amtrak operates in our area) wants two platforms (one for each direction of travel) in order to minimize interference with growing freight traffic.
- The station is becoming too small for the growing number of passengers. The number of boardings and alightings from Rochester’s station rose steadily from 84,111 in 2004 to 140,222 in 2011.
- The current station’s single platform, bathrooms and sidewalks are not handicapped-accessible.
- The current building is too small to accommodate an expanded bathroom, and the building cannot easily accommodate new high-level platforms.
- The current building was built as a temporary structure, and it has outlived its useful lifespan.
- The building, platform, parking lot and service road are in such poor shape that it is more practical to build a new facility than it would be to renovate the current concrete slab structure.
- The current station lacks basic amenities such as a newsstand and food services.
Since we need a new building, it only makes sense to design a facility to allow for likely future growth.
- New York State plans for improving the Empire Corridor are likely to increase the number of trains serving Rochester from 8 trains per day to up to 20 trains per day. The current waiting room and facilities cannot accommodate projected growth in ridership.
- New “high-level” platforms will allow Amtrak passengers to board the train at the same level as the floor of the train. High level platforms offer a number of benefits:
- Faster boarding, which in turn reduces end-to-end trip times.
- Enables boarding and alighting through all doors, rather than channeling all passengers to one or two doors.
- Easier boarding for all passengers, especially those with luggage, children, or mobility needs.
- Improves ADA accessibility.
- Combining intercity buses (Trailways and Greyhound) and intercity rail (Amtrak) improves service to riders:
- The interconnection of routes allows transfers from bus routes to train routes and vice versa (for example a SUNY Geneseo student might take a bus to Rochester to transfer to an Amtrak train to their home city).
- More efficient use of public funding by taking advantage of common facilities in a single consolidated facility.
- Passengers can switch carriers in the event of a delay or blockage on their original carrier’s route (for example, passengers faced with bus delay caused by icy conditions on the Thruway could switch to Amtrak).
- The new station will include amenities such as a newsstand and restaurant. This will greatly improve the environment for passengers, and will provide amenities comparable to those provided at our airport.
- Enclosed and climate-controlled passageways between the station building and the new platforms will improve passenger comfort.
- A new, architecturally impressive, station will create a positive image of our city.
Intercity rail is energy efficient, low-polluting, and efficient:
- Amtrak provides efficient and economic service to other cities without the use of a car. This is particularly important when traveling to major cities such as New York, Chicago and Boston.
- Train travel times to NYC are competitive with flying when one considers travel time from the airport to the city, and airport-related security, waits and delays.
- Amtrak uses only 2,100 BTU per passenger-mile compared to 3,597 for cars.
- Taking the train from Rochester to NYC will offset 300 pounds of CO2.
- Amtrak is heavily used by students in our area’s colleges. Our colleges are increasingly important to Rochester’s economy.
Please sign on to this letter by adding your name (and any applicable organization) in the comments section below…