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January 29, 2010 - 4:18pm

'Fast track to nowhere' coming to Genesee County

posted by Howard B. Owens in byron, transportation, high speed rail.

If you live in Byron and commute to Riga, you're in luck -- the trip is going to get much faster.

High-speed rail is coming to Genesee County, according to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.

But it won't get you to Albany or New York City. It won't even get you to Rochester or Buffalo. But it will get you to Riga.

A more extensive high-speed-rail system would cost billions and President Obama didn't bless New York with that much money.

He earmarked just $150 million for a "demonstration project."

The tracks will lay beside a current rail line, but engineered so existing Amtrak trains can obtain a speed of 110 mph, compared to the current top speed of 79 mph.

Here's the D&C story.

UPDATE: WBTA's Geoff Redick interviewed Victoria Dillon (mp3) from Rep. Slaughter's office. Dillon reveals this stretch of track will not connect with anything. No train will run on it. It's just a third rail. Linking it into any other system, "would create extra crossing that we would just have to get rid of," Dillon said.  She calls it "an important first step."

Karen Miconi
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So 151 Million Dollars? Wow, it must be some train. It would only be smart to have stops in Buffalo and Rochester. It would be nice if it stopped in Batavia too. You would think NYC and Syracuse would be a major stops as well. Where are these peoples heads?? Nooooo... Lets put it in East Bloomfield instead. It amaises me how they can get their hands on 151 Million, and be allowed to piss it away, without any imput or say from taxpayers, and residents of Upstate NY.
michael verratti
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Well, it looks like south byron is where the rail stop would be? Hmmm, and Riga, cause there's soooo many places to work in Riga. I live in Elba, and work in Gates. So I could drive to south byron, take the train to Riga, save maybe 5 min, and then take my bicycle to work by the airport. Hey, so much for time saving, at least I'd save fuel and get exercise.
michael verratti
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Oh, and why couldn't the state save some of that money, and leave the snowmobilers alone?
william tapp
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will some one hang Louise Slaughter.what do we need with that, state just wasting more money we need that we need more lying politicians
Bob Harker
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Byron to Riga?!?! $150 Million?!!??! I am sick to my stomach. I will be on the phone to Chris Lee 1st thing Monday AM. This is a COMPLETE and TOTAL waste of OUR money!!! It MUST be stopped. Unfrigginbelievable.
Bryant Tyson
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It is a start once it is there you don't think it won't grow. With the tracks that it will run along it won't be hard to tie in to all the citys your all talking about. The whole idea of it from my take is the feds start it in a place like this and private interest will put up the funds to tie in the bigger cities. I could be way off but I do like the idea of high speed rail and it has to start somewhere.
Rick Pastecki
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We have nobody to blame but ourselves folks. We have been voting Louise Slaughter into office for years. Chuck Schumer, Louise Slaughter and Mrs. Gillibrand have to go. Will we not be happy until New York goes broke?
Janice Stenman
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I agree with Bryant Tyson. It's a beginning. The 490 Expressway started out the same way. So the high speed train only goes from Byron to Riga. At least there will be ample parking! And land prices are cheaper than if it ran right through Rochester. By the way, did you know the first railroad between Rochester and Batavia started as a sightseeing excursion? The locamotives were brought in via the original Erie Canal.
tom hunt
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Obama is throwing us a crumb of the 8 billion dollars of stimulus money to keep us quiet. I believe the original proposal was a high speed line from Niagara Falls to Albany. Why does NYS always end up sucking the hind teat?
Mike Weaver
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Yeah, it'll grow. Just like rt 219 did. 20 years later it still won't be complete. What a waste of good money.
Howard B. Owens
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I like the idea of high-speed rail. And I especially like the idea that there could be a stop in Genesee County (if not Batavia). And, hey, it's kind of nice, that these construction jobs are coming to our region. But when you're talking about spending $151 million on a project that will cost billions and you have no plan for paying for the rest of the project, and when you have the government piling up more and more debt for very little return ... this project just seems like one big "what the hell?" It's hard to believe that this track will ever connect to anything. It just smells like classic pork. Listen to the audio I just posted from WBTA.
Russ Salway
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I really like the idea of high speed rail also, but this is ridiculous! This really needs to stop! So many projects over the years have turned into just another waste of money! No wonder why so many people leave this state and you just have to look at the joke/circus/embarrasment that Albany is to our great state! Do the people who make these decisions just get in a closed room, drink 20 beers each, smoke something funny and say....hey I have a great idea!!!? My kids can make better decisions then these jokers that were voted in to represent us! Too bad my kids will be the ones who have to pay for all these well thought out decisions! Just like im paying for all the well thought out decisions from the 1960's-70's! The new york state thruway was supposed to be paid for and a toll free road....the state lottery is supposed to pay for education....hey lets tear down one side of main st. and put a really ugly builiding up in the heart of our city....doesnt matter what level of government your talking about! WE THE PEOPLE should have a say....not just be an endless open pocketbook for bad decisions!!! High speed rail from Niagara Falls-Buffalo-Batavia-Rochester-Auburn-Syracuse-Albany-Saratoga-NYC makes great sense if affordable! This is absolutely a joke...punchline...embarrasment to the good honest hard working people of New York State!
Jeff Allen
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I remember overwhelming success of the high speed ferry. At least that didn't leave tracks behind when it left.
Jerry Buckman
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Remember the scene from Titanic when the Captain was looking out the bridge at an aquarium? We are all like cattle being led to slaughter. Hesitant, but still walking. How does one become motivated to defeat such nincompoopery when we are so comfortable with being well fed, warm, surfing the internet, gabbing on cell phones, etc.?
DOUGLAS MCCLURG
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Reminds me of an old saying..."If you build It...they will send the train around it"... It's all my fault..I should of voted for the smart politician.
Bea McManis
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delete
Amy Davis
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You all make excellent points. I thought the state was broke? where is this coming from? more crap and waste.
Bob Harker
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I agree with you Rick, but would take it further. EVERY incumbent, federal, state, and even local, should be voted out. We the people have it in our power to do so and therefore put our once great nation and state on the right path. And if that means voting for a nominee with no other qualification other than never having held office before, I'm all for it. Bob
Dave Olsen
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Amy, it's Federal Money. The state, I think is supposed to add some more. I'm not sure if that's a requirement to to actually get the money. Everything I read about it is kind of vague. By the way everybody, if you actually read the article Howard linked you'll see: $ 58 million is to be used for the 11 miles of track here, $ 91 million for improving the Albany - Schenectady run and $ 1.5 million for improvements to the Rochester and Depew stations. There is a detailed plan for high speed rail: https://www.nysdot.gov/recovery/repository/HS%20Rail%208-24-09%20pm_0.pdf if you scroll to the bottom of page 2, you'll see this is phase 1. So, Mr. Tyson & Ms. Stenman are correct above, it is a start. Maybe "Pilot Project" would be a better name. It is part of the ARRA, which is supposed to put some people to work on infrastructure jobs. While this is a good project; I think roads, water and sewer projects are a better use of the Fed money, and especially bridges. Wait till one collapses in NY, then we'll see a priority shift.
Julie Morales
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Jerry Buckman: Very well said… I agree.

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