'Choo Choo Chuck' pushes for high-speed rail during visit to Bergen
Calling high-speed rail "21st Century technology," Sen. Charles Schumer stopped in Bergen on Tuesday to try and prod CSX to make way for a new passenger rail line that would connect Bergen and Chili.
The $58 million demonstration track, Schumer hopes, would lead to perhaps more than $1.5 billion in funding to build a high-speed rail line from Buffalo to New York City.
CSX, Schumer said, is standing in the way of progress by not providing access to the right of way of its current lines.
Meanwhile, the federal government -- it won't cost New York taxpayers anything, Schumer said -- has buckets of money to spend on high-speed rail, and if New York doesn't grab the money, some other state will.
CSX is hampering New York's rightful claim to the money, according to the senator.
"High-speed rail has been shown to work in other countries," Schumer said. "It will work in Upstate New York. It will create jobs and bring companies to Upstate New York."
Upstate, Schumer said, is a lot like Europe.
"We’re a little more closer to Europe where it has worked," Schumer said. "The distance between the French and German cities and the distance between our cities, and the difference in population of the French and German cities and our cities are very similar."
He spoke several times about the benefits to Rochester and Buffalo of high-speed rail, but while standing in Genesee County, he made no mention of how high speed might benefit the local economy.
In an era when business executives can, as a practical matter, get from Buffalo to Manhatten in nano seconds, Schumer said high-speed rail is a business necessity.
"High-speed rail is 21st Century technology," Schumer said. "Just figure out if you have to get from Midtown New York to Midtown Buffalo or Midtown Rochester, you can go 200 mph in a train – it takes an hour to get from downtown New York City to the airport, then you’ve got to wait for the plane. Yes, the actual plane flight is faster, but when you look at it, rail is faster and easier."
Bergen Mayor Ralph Marsocci expressed concern about a 200 mph training passing through his village and Schumer said that is certainly one of the issues that would need to be addressed.
After a round of skeptical questions by reporters and even one or two of the local business leaders in attendance, Schumer said, “We can hear people say ‘No, no, no' and the same people said ‘No, no, no’ to the Erie Canal. Transportion has always been a linchpin of our economy in Upstate New York. Building good strong transportation makes a great deal of sense."
Below, a photo of a sign hung on a building near where Schumer spoke Tuesday. It reads "Choo Choo Chuck / The Track to Nowere (sic)."
Bottom two pictures, gratuitous photos of trains that passed while the media was waiting for "Choo Choo Chuck" to arrive.
As one of the trains approached during Schumer's remarks, Schumer recalled, as he leaned out from the podium to watch the approaching train, that when he was a child his family couldn't afford nice vacations, so they went to this cabin that was right next to a rail. His parents hated it, he said, "but when I was 5 I used to love to stand there and watch the trains go by."
"Meanwhile, the federal government -- it won't cost New York taxpayers anything, Schumer said -- has buckets of money to spend on high speed rail, and if New York doesn't grab the money, some other state will."
Schumer should of stated, "It won't cost any additional tax dollars and it will not cost anything for New York City voters.
Isn't this why we have Amtrax? Can see it now, Farmer Doe crossing the railroad with his 1950's tractor and boom the high speed train comes barreling through Hicksville.
Geez, I thought the Fed money came from us also...The man is an idiot. HUGE waste of money. $1.5 Billion could fix alot of school systems in NY.
Great, he has no idea where the money comes from. But then, since it has to be borrowed from another country, maybe Choo Choo doesn't know.
"Meanwhile, the federal government -- it won't cost New York taxpayers anything, Schumer said -- has buckets of money to spend on high speed rail, and if New York doesn't grab the money, some other state will."
Wow! I didn't know New Yorkers don't have to pay federal taxes anymore! Yay!
And the federal government has buckets of money! You go, obama, you go! We are in such great shape, I don't understand why any republicans are challenging him!
So why does Chuck think that a photo op in Bergen was a good idea? It isn't going to be one of the stops, so it isn't going to create jobs in Bergen, it isn't going to bring tourism to Bergen. Bergen is just another small town that will have an empty, multi-ton, noisy projectile flying through it at 200 mph. This isn't Field of Dreams "If you build it, they will come", this is "if you bring a camera, Chuck Schumer will show up".
Hey Choo Choo Chuck, can you say Fast Ferry three times fast?? Do you see what happened to that 21st Century innovation? People were going to be flocking to Rochester in droves to ride it to Canada. Hmm..Now it is being shoved down our throats to build train tracks to nowhere.
Say this did happen. Whose going to clean up the mess after a train derails going 200+mph?????
Save the money for our schools systems !!!!
I guess I am the only one who sees the potential of high speed rail in New York State. Obviously, by the headline, we already know where Howard stands on it.
Europe is way ahead of the curve on high speed rail. Japan has a well organized system. Why is it that the vision escapes those here?
A prototype is necessary. Even that will provide jobs.
Are we so affluent, in this county, that jobs aren't needed?
If Steve Hawley was at that photo op, the Genesee County Republicans would be salivating at this opportunity.
Chuck Schumer 1/17/2012
"Meanwhile, the federal government -- it won't cost New York taxpayers anything, Schumer said -- has buckets of money to spend on high speed rail,"
....less than a year ago...
Chuck Schumer 2/5/2011
"Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) announced he is endorsing President Obama's call for a five-year freeze on domestic discretionary spending, and urged Congress to adopt it as a needed step to reduce the deficit. Schumer said the approach is a responsible alternative to House Republicans' more extreme proposals to slash programs that would help the economy grow and that help keep Americans safe. The five-year freeze would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over 10 years, bringing non-security discretionary spending to the lowest share of the economy since the Eisenhower presidency. “This is a responsible proposal that shows we are serious about cutting spending. I believe this approach should have bipartisan support,” Schumer said. We all agree on the need to rein in spending"
I'm 64 now - - I figure this is just another thing that's never going to happen in MY lifetime - like the high tech park in the Town of Alabama. SOMEBODY will be making money off both things, though - - the people doing the "studies" and the surveys and the opinion polls.
Really, how many people are going to drive from Batavia to Buffalo to ride the rail to Rochester?
How much each and every year will we have to pay to subsidize this thing if it was ever built. Amtrak would be out of business if they did not take our tax money to keep it going.
This also shows that Schumer has no intention of really trying to reduce the deficit, as mentioned above (#9) by Jeff. Obama is now asking to borrow another $1 Trillion dollars from China and Chuck wants to waste it on this.
I live less than half a mile from the current train tracks in East Pembroke, and they are already loud and dangerous enough. We don't need a train ripping through here at 200mph, that's a headache and a disaster waiting to happen.
And how is it going to affect property values?
Do they actually believe it can help out economy enough to make it worth 1.5 billion of money that WE DONT HAVE?
How is it going to affect local wildlife? Will there be fences up along the entire length of the tracks to prevent animals/people from ending up in the middle of the tracks? Bridges at every current crossing, or are you going to maintain regualr train crossings and risk a car breaking down on the tracks?
Has Choo Choo Chuck done coo coo?
Two miles down the road from where Schumer bemoaned intractability is the abandoned West Shore railroad bed that parallels the CSX. The former New York West Shore & Buffalo Railroad line has largely been divested to communities it serviced in lieu of back taxes (prior ownership, defunct NYCRR). There have been efforts in the southern part of the state to resurrect this line for passenger service. If The Batavian's general dismissal of high speed rail is representative; don't worry! The old West Shore bypasses Batavia to the north, instead running through Churchville, Bergen, Byron, Elba, Oakfield...
Koo Koo Chuck
I can see Batavia as the transportation hub for Western NY. Not Buffalo or Rochester. It is the logical choice for the stepping stone to Chicago and the west as well as headed east.
High speed rail isn't noisy. It doesn't ride on old tracks. That in itself means jobs for this area, much like there were good jobs when the thruway was built.
Bea asks "Europe is way ahead of the curve on high speed rail. Japan has a well organized system. Why is it that the vision escapes those here?"
The answer is simple, we are not Europe and Japan. They have always been areas that favor mass transportation to cars largely by virtue of logistics (lack of space in Japan, narrow routes in Europe due to the age of the infrastucture). We are generally a rural country with the exception obviously of our cities. We are also a people who enjoy the freedom and individuality of our cars. For high speed rail to succeed would take a complete paradigm shift for most people. I don't see it.
The other angle that is being foisted upon us in this is "infrastructure investment" one of Schumer's constant money drumming calls. This does not qualify as such. Given the risky nature of it's success, it is nothing more than government venture capitalism. We saw how that worked out as Mark pointed out with the Fast Ferry fiasco. We are also seeing how it is currently working with companies like Solyndra, SunPower, Evergreen, Fisker, and others. Now is not the time to be gambling with our tax dollars
No, Bea, you're not alone. Other liberals that can't conceive of fiscal responsibility are with you.
Choo Choo Chuck? Really? That lacks imagination. We really have become a lazy nation. Even our insults are lame. Schumer is probably going to use that the next time he runs for office in 2052.
Seriously why is a Senator's term soooooo long?
Anyhoo...as someone who lived abroad and in some major US cities, I am totally baffled how we still don't have this. Then again, I'm one of the few people that think the traffic circle on 98 is a much better solution than the crap that was there before. I would totally use that train if it was here, to Buffalo, Rochester, or maybe a night out to NYC with the wife.
I'm not a liberal, Bob.
I've never been to NYC, but I hear it's grand. Even the rats.
Have you ever been to Europe, Jeff? I lived there for years, and I can tell you Western New York is a spitting image of the Franconia Region of Germany...and they have a high speed rail.
As a matter of fact, where I lived, Wuerzburg is the sister city of Rochester.
No city on earth like it. The rats even have a broadway show :-)
"As one of the trains approached during Schumer's remarks, Schumer recalled, as he leaned out from the podium to watch the approaching train"
Too bad he didn't lean out far enough to get up close and personal with the train......
This man is bad for our state and bad for the nation. The overabundance of poor urban areas in this state are the only reason such liberal tax and spend philosophy remains in power - and are intentionally KEPT poor through liberal backed entitlements.
Yes, Phil I have been to Europe and that is in part what I base my comments on. The since the cities were built long before any type of individual transport other than foot, the narrow streets and tight corners do not lend themselves to vehicle traffic. Mass transit was necessity. We just aren't geared towards it as a whole and prefer the freedom of our own cars.
Hate to break it to Bea and Phil, Batavia is not one of the stops on the rail system. According the website the only proposed stops are Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, and Albany and logic would negate more stops being added. High speed rail is designed for just that, high speed, not convenience of multiple stops. Batavia would just be another high speed piece of scenery. There will be no added convenience for those of us in Genesee Co. and better still, no economic benefit for our tax dollars.
If high-speed rail performs as intended the negative economic impact on Genesee County would be significant.
Jeff wrote: We are also a people who enjoy the freedom and individuality of our cars."
So you would rather see congested highways and the continued high fuel costs?
High speed rail isn't a pie in the sky concept. It works.
Amtrak has a limited version of it from Boston to DC, but it is at the mercy of companies like CSX who own the tracks on which it runs.
Disney has a version of high speed rail in Florida.
Comparing it to the ferry project is like comparing apples to oranges. The ferry project was doomed from the start. The concept was plausible, but the truth is the market dropped out when travelers were forced to obtain a passport to travel to Canada.
High Speed Rail, connecting our major cities, is more than just a "build it and they will come". It is a convenient, economical, and practical method of travel. Even if one had to drive to Rochester, for example, to get to NYC, it is no different than having to drive to Rochester to catch a flight.
Labeling me as a Liberal, Mr. Harker, is not a shameful thing. I proudly wear that label. But, this isn't about my political preference or, for that matter, Phil's. It is about looking to the future. If that means looking at Europe or Japan for an ideal transportation system, then so be it.
I have a feeling that the naysayers didn't bother to even look at the video I posted.
Mr. Harker wrote: "Too bad he didn't lean out far enough to get up close and personal with the train......". I find that offensive. Something I would never wish on anyone, regardless of how I felt about their politics.
Any idea how much of an annual federal tax subsidy will be needed after it is built?
Bea, that statement has nothing to do with fuel costs and traffic, it has to do with believing that high speed rail is somehow going to completely change the mindset of Western New York drivers. Besides, what impact would the proposed rail project have on the cost of fuel and the traffic in Genesee County? The only time I ever experience a traffic jam in Genesee Co. is trying to go through Corfu on a Darien Lake concert night. And comparing this behemoth to Disneys Monorail is a stretch, New York State is not an amusement park even though our legislators try to push "Goofy" ideas. Huge expenditure, with little or no return on the investment. My dislike of the concept is not because it's Chuck Schumers idea, it's because it's a bad idea.
I agree with you Bea. Video has good information. Like Bea said you have to drive to Buff or Roch to catch a flight so whats the difference. How would they add more noise?? They are passing by in seconds. The noise makers are the cargo trains. If other countries can do it why cant we? This is 2012 not 1960 we are becoming more advance and should show it. I pay taxes too and dont like tax hikes all the time but if our money dont go to something like this it will go somewhere else and Im sure a lot people still wouldnt agree on that so whats the difference?
Europe is a fine example of why not to spend the money like this, look at the mess there in. The cost of this folly per passenger will have to be subsidized by the goverment. It will make a few people richer ( Chucks supporters ) and hurt everyone else.
I would hate to see them take the West Shore Reailroad bed back over , it is the only system that allows ATV riders a legal place to do some distance riding , take that away and you will have more and more riders trespassing and tearing up private property
If Schumer wants to help, then spend it on fixing bridges around Genesee County. It would create jobs and will have more of a positive impact on our quality of life than a "demonstration track".
Wow-a whole 11 mile stretch of a high speed rail....then how long will it take to complete to Albany? It's too bad the money can't be used for something more important-like fixing roads and bridges that people currently use(and are in sad shape). You want high speed-take Amtrak...... people complain about the freight trains-just imagine how many more trucks would be on your rural roads if we didn't have them.
Proposed time savings on the website state Rochester to NYC from 7 hrs to 6 hrs. A time savings of 1 hour. Remember you still will stop in Syracuse, Utica, and Albany on your way to NYC. Hop on a plane and you are there in an hour. Where is the competition with air travel? NO BENEFIT to Genesee Co. It is our obligation to oppose something that sucks more tax dollars out of our pockets and puts nothing back in financial return, convenience, tourism, industry, or jobs.
Everybody is always so negative. Nobody has mentioned the real potential. Their are millions of Canadians that would get on the Fast Ferry to Rochester, then jump on the high speed rail and spend their money throughout NY state.
To begin the project, first forcibly take money from people that can't afford or have no use for a high speed rail. Next give it to unaccountable bureaucrats and bingo,its done. Solyndra Solar Power executives are looking for jobs. Maybe they can watch over the project and make sure there's no waste.
Okay show of hands...how many who oppose high speed rail are for the Keystone Oil Project?
Hand way up. We already have an established market for oil. We currently have over 55,000 miles of oil pipeline safely transporting oil throughout the US. Keystone adds 1700 more miles using the latest and safest pipeline technology. Both the right and left agree we need oil from countries other than the middle east, Canada is quite friendly. Canada is already planning talks with China for the oil. If we lose it, we lose real jobs, real source for oil, real progress in getting off middle east oil. WIN, WIN, WIN. Not even a close comparison to high speed rail.
Keystone would not be federally funded like the Obama line would be, in fact it is Canadian.
It would create more jobs than this 11 mile rail line.
It would mean we buy oil from Canada, a friend of the US, instead of the Middle East.
How many people would rather buy oil from Canada than Saudi Arabia?
"Even if one had to drive to Rochester, for example, to get to NYC, it is no different than having to drive to Rochester to catch a flight."
If I'm driving to Rochester to get on a train, I may as well just get on a plane and make it there faster- the average flight to NYC is around 45 minutes from BUFFALO, the time on the train would be over 2 hours, even at 200mph.
With the scale of the project, you can bet it would get security measures like those of airports, and that your time to get through the station and onto the train wouldn't be much faster. And I'm betting the ticket wouldn't be much cheaper, if any. Air travel is still faster to get to NYC, sorry.
How many of you go to NYC on a daily, or even weekly basis? How many drive some place in Genesee County every day on a street, road or bridgein need of repair?
Now where would $58 million of borrowed Chinese money best be spent?
Streets should already be taken care of with our real estate tax hikes in Genesee County. Our County taxes keep going up for what? The news is not saying Genesee County is receiving $58mil for projects and they are choosing to do a speed rail. Im all for new changes, new developments and new jobs. The oil project sounds great cause soon we could see $4 a gal in no time. Money that we are paying in County Taxes should pay for these streets and bridges.
So, which group that is giving Chuck campaign money is the one that will benefit from this project?
If Amtrek goes 50-60 mph and gets to NYC in 7hrs how does a speed rail traveling 200 mph only cut the time by one hr??? It should be more like 2 1/2 hrs. For people that dont travel to NYC I can see how you will be against this. I take multiple trips to the city I have family there, taking a plane cost more and once landed you have to pay more to get to the city. I take Amtrek and it takes you right into the citys Penn Station. So we all will have our own judgment on this and some can benefit from this while others it wont.
It is amazing how people think the war on drugs is wasteful government spending but, an high speed train in New York is not. Sounds like a liberal to me. Reality is the high speed train would probably attract some people initially but, in the long run would die down. Just like it was already mention the Ferry failed in Rochester. Few would have need for it. Besides the 1.5 billion in initial cost, what is it going to cost to maintain and operate for a small market? Now maybe it would be more successful if it was New York City to San Diego.
Marc, the 1 hour cut in time is directly from the high speed rail website. The train will not go from Rochester to NYC direct, it will still stop in Syracuse, Utica, and Albany before NYC. That is why it only saves an hour.
Here is the link:
Marc didn't you know that the train will not be non stop?
You do know that property taxes are paying for medicaid, nursing home, police, fire, parks and other services? Of course, the gas tax that was to pay for road repair was taken by e Albany to pay for social programs and school aid, so we could cut them to get that money back, right? Or we could raise taxes on the middle class, right?
Marc, how often do you drive to even Albany and/or NYC? How often do you get in a car and drive someplace in Genesee County?
Try hard to answer this, do you think local construction jobs on local roads and bridges would be at least as good as jobs building an 11 mile rail line? Which would help people in Genesee County more?
Amazing that just one item in this fact sheet http://api.ning.com/files/JK9ckS8fxKKbtAn8sjyKSEvI-WALi*vY2-jrz78R-Fw_/H... caught Jeff's attention.
The fact sheet also mentioned:
New York state residents who live within a 30 mile radius of the Empire Corridor; this includes more than 80 percent of all 19.4 million state residents.
• The planned $2.25 billion in public and private investment in Upstate cities by
encouraging commerce and travel to our urban centers.
• More than 130,000 students educated by the 35 colleges and universities within the 12 county Central Upstate region of New York; the third highest concentration of college students in the nation.
• Small and large businesses through increased tourism and the creation of jobs in fields such as rail operation, research and development, manufacturing and
o The New York State Department of Transportation anticipates the creation of
247,825 jobs during the construction period of the Empire Corridor.
o High Speed Rail, for example, will ultimately create two distinct labor markets in the Buffalo‐Niagara Falls and Rochester metropolitan areas employing a combined total of more than 1.7 million workers.
o The New York State Senate Task Force on High Speed Rail estimated that a program of high speed rail investment could produce 6,500 “person years”* of employment in New York state communities over the course of the 10 year implementation period. *One person year is equivalent to one person working a full year.
o Federal investment in the national High Speed Rail network will result in new
business for rolling stock manufacturers. The Empire Corridor alone will require 81
coaches, 21 café cars and 25 locomotives.
This isn't just a Genesee Co. project, but a project that will enhance the connection between New York State and points west.
John, It isn't just a matter of how often Genesee Co. residents take a road trip to NYC; Boston; Chicago; etc. Quite often, while taking the train to NYC, the cars are filled with travelers coming from the west. They are either headed to NYC, Boston, or points south (DC; Florida; etc.). This indicates that there IS a market for this and that it won't just "die down".
The fact sheet mentions college students. When I lived in Pennsylvania, college students made up a large percentage of riders, both on Amtrak and SEPTA. Business people use the train because it is more convenient than flying when going to New York or Washington DC from Philadelphia. We often took the train from Philadelphia to Albany for monthly meetings.
You keep asking how often does one drive to somewhere. The real question is how often have you been on a train in recent years.
While the hub may not be in Batavia, there are still benefits for this area. Are you saying that none of the 200,000 jobs won't go to people in our county?
Marc, my first instinct is to say, "save the bandwidth."
There is a hope that turning down federal money for projects will somehow translate into lower taxes.
There is a belief that it isn't a good program unless Mr. Hawley is seen in the photo op.
This group would be complaining if Shumer came to Genesee Co. and offered infrastructure money or money for schools. The messenger is far more important than the project.
You seem to ignore we don't have the money since we have borrow the money from overseas. Even now, this month, Obama wants to borrow another $1 trillion dollars we can not repay.
You ignore also if the public did not have it's money taken to subsidize it, Amtrak would be shut down.
And if you are going to NYC from Chicago, air travel will still be faster.
I think it is a safe bet that if Hawley had proposed this, you would call it the waste it is.
No way, John. If Hawley had proposed it, I would be cheering him. I truly believe in the future of high speed rail connecting east and west, north and south. That is the part you don't understand. It isn't political for me, it is something I have championed for a long, long time.
The next time you are near the terminal in Buffalo or Rochester, why not get on the train and preach to the five or six cars filled with travelers going east from Chicago that they should be on a plane.
What part of "choice" is difficult to understand.
A few years back, on a train from NY to California, I met a group of business people who were headed for a conference in Sacramento. Their company purposely booked them on the train. It was a chance for this group to meet for a few days to prepare for the conference without the distractions they encounter in the office. They arrived prepared for the conference, refreshed, and ready to hit the ground running. No jet lag, no airport hassle. It isn't the first time I've met business people who prefer train travel.
Amtrak, in my opinion, is poorly run. One reason is the sharing of freight tracks. Schedules, speed and reliability are married to the freight train schedules. You are right, it is subsidized. Perhaps with a more efficient system, better tracks, and service that subsidy will no longer be needed.
What high speed rail system makes money, or even breaks even? None in Europe or Asia, so where? They all have to be subsidized and we do not have the money.
Sure some people prefer rail travel, and some air travel, and some auto travel. So? Just because some prefer rail is no reason to waste $58 million, we don't have, on a demonstration track.
But, if forced to spend the money, I'd like to see it for high speed freight service. Same number of construction jobs, and more business activity for companies who can get good to customers faster and cheaper.
This charge pretends that passenger trains are the only mode of travel that receives federal subsidies. In fact, all do. Until 1971, airports and the FAA were financed solely by subsidies from the General Fund. Ticket tax receipts now cover airport construction costs, but the costs of running the FAA – over $3 billion per year – is subsidized by all taxpayers, even those who never fly. A study released by Mintel Business Intelligence in August 2001showed that only 3 in 10 Americans had flown during the previous year and 4 in 10 adults will not fly at all.
Other studies show that gasoline taxes and other user charges pay for only about two thirds of U.S. highway costs, with the balance covered by subsidies from income, sales and property taxes. In July 2008 Congress voted a $8 billion subsidy from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund, which had gone broke because the federal Motor Fuel Tax was not raised to cover highway expenses.
The taxpayer return on public investment in rail will be as great if not greater than it with roads or airports because of the reduction of pollution and dependence on foreign oil that high-speed trains bring.
Too long to paraphrase, but you might be interested in reading this.