Rep. Maloney Report: Thousands of Jobs to be Created by New Federal Rail Grant
-Maloney Issues Report with Gov’t & Union Leaders, Contractors, & Transit Advocates Showing 9,213 Jobs, $585.9 Million Boost in Economic Activity Created by Grant to Improve Harold Interlocking-
Queens, NY –U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Queens, Manhattan), State Senator Michael Gianaris, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, General Contractors Association Managing Director Denise Richardson, and Michael Murphy of Transportation Alternatives gathered today at the Sunnyside Rail Yards in Queens to issue a report outlining the thousands of jobs and other economic benefits that will be created through the new, $295 million federal high-speed rail grant to improve “Harold Interlocking,” a junction point in Sunnyside Yards through which trains from three major transit systems must pass on their way into and out of New York. The grant will help relieve major delays at the junction that have plagued New York travelers for years and pave the way for high-speed rail from New York to Boston.
The funding is part of $2 billion in high-speed rail grants announced by the federal government last week. Governor Andrew Cuomo and MTA Chairman Jay Walder applied for the grant in April after the governor of Florida rejected high-speed rail funding for his state. The Harold Interlocking junction is located in Maloney’s Congressional district and the Congresswoman has been a strong supporter of the grant.
Maloney’s report finds that the new grant will:
- Create 9,213 jobs over the five-year life of the project;
- Boost economic activity in our region by $585.9 million;
- Induce tens of thousands of jobs throughout the economy;
- Bring in millions in tax revenue;
- Result in reduced commuting times for LIRR, Amtrak and NJ Transit passengers by eliminating the bottleneck at Harold Interlocking; and
- Pave the way for high-speed rail along the Northeast Corridor, which will create roughly 44,000 jobs and $33 billion in wages annually over the project’s 25-year construction cycle.
Please click here for a full copy of Maloney’s report.
“Florida’s loss is a 9,200-job gain for New York. This project will relieve one of the worst choke points in our entire transit system, pave the way for high-speed rail, and boost the economy by more than a half-billion dollars,” Maloney said. “New Yorkers know the value of investing in transit and we didn’t think twice about pursuing this funding after Florida foolishly rejected it. I thank Secretary LaHood for approving this grant, Governor Cuomo and MTA Chairman Walder for their leadership in applying for it, and my colleague and Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica for his dedication to improving rail service in the Northeast Corridor.”
“This shovel-ready project will disentangle a choke point that serves nearly 800 trains every day,” said MTA Chairman Jay H. Walder. “It will dramatically improve the reliability of train service on the Long Island Rail Road, as well as Amtrak and NJ Transit, and opens the door for high-speed rail on the Northeast Corridor. We owe our thanks to Representative Maloney as well as Governor Cuomo, the Obama Administration, and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for focusing resources on this critical project.”
“This grant will help to improve rail travel for passengers from Queens County to states in New England. It also will relieve congestion at an extremely busy intersection and put us on the fast track to high-speed rail service. I thank Transportation Secretary LaHood, Congresswoman Maloney and all our partners in government for securing these millions of dollars and putting them where they will do the most good,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.
Senator Michael Gianaris said, “It is a great day when we can announce an influx of federal money, enhancements to our rail yards and the creation of new jobs in our community all at once. As a hub for train travel, Western Queens has experienced its fair share of transportation problems, which this grant will help fix. I thank Congresswoman Maloney for working so hard to bring this area these much needed funds and I look forward to making Sunnyside Yards a more efficient junction.”
“Rebuilding our transportation infrastructure and expanding high speed rail will be essential for building an economy of the future. Creating nearly ten thousand jobs over the next five years, this funding will make it easier to quickly move people and products - a key factor New York’s economic success. I applaud Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for her tireless efforts to deliver this important funding for City of New York,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-26th District).
“The unionized construction industry of New York City, representing 100,000 working men and women, applauds Congresswoman Maloney in her efforts to secure this critical federal funding, which will create jobs at a time when so many New Yorkers, and especially the men and women of the building and construction trades, have been hard hit by this economic downturn,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.
“The $295 Million in reprogrammed High Speed Rail dollars awarded by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for the Long Island Rail Road’s Harold Interlocking is one of the most cost-effective uses for High Speed Rail dollars in the nation,” said Denise Richardson, Managing Director of the General Contractors Association of New York. “Harold is literally at the center point of the Northeast Corridor and streamlining the movement of trains through this area will speed service from Boston to Washington and will help improve the efficiency of the entire rail network.”
"We applaud the Obama Administration and Secretary LaHood for funding essential projects such as the Harold Interlocking that will increase rail speeds, improve reliability, create thousands of jobs and pave the way for true, high-speed rail in the Northeast," said Robert Yaro, Co-Chair of the Business Alliance for Northeast Mobility and President of Regional Plan Association. "The Northeast Corridor is the main event in the American passenger rail system. The investments announced mark the first step in achieving world class high-speed rail for America's leading economic region. "
"Transportation means access to economic opportunity. Not only will this grant provide much needed relief to commuters trying to get to work or look for work, it will create local jobs and help drive the economic recovery,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
Harold Interlocking is the busiest passenger rail interlocking in North America, with 783 trains moving through the interlocking each day from three different transit systems: the Long Island Railroad, Amtrak, and New Jersey Transit. Because of the way Harold Interlocking is currently constructed, conflicts among the three rail lines are frequent, resulting in constant delays and disruptions at Pennsylvania Station and on the Northeast Corridor. The funding will allow the MTA to construct a bypass that would provide Amtrak with conflict-free access to Harold Interlocking, reducing delays for trains to and from Boston and paving the way for high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor.