State and CSX at odds over high-speed rail line agreement
When New York reached an agreement with CSX for a high-speed rail line from Albany to Buffalo, it signed off on two provisions officials now seem to regret, according to the Buffalo News.
Rather than a rail line with trains reaching top speeds of 110 mph, the state's agreement only calls for speeds of 90 mph.
Also, the state agreed to a 30-foot gap between rail line along the CSX right-of-way.
The problem is, there are portions of the right-of-way that aren't even 30-feet wide, which means property will need to be bought (or seized through eminent domain) or overpasses will need to be reconstructed.
The resulting dispute between the state and CSX threatens to derail the entire upstate high-speed rail project — but to prevent that, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Friday assigned a top federal rail official to try to resolve the issue.
“I promised Congresswoman Slaughter that FRA Deputy Administrator Karen Rae will work with the state and do whatever it takes to make high-speed rail happen for New York,” LaHood said after the meeting.
Slaughter, meanwhile, said she was thrilled that Rae — who was the state’s top rail official before moving to Washington — would be devoted full time to resolving the disagreement.
The rail line will pass through Genesee County, with a demonstration project already funded for a line between Byron and Riga.