Federal transit funding arrives for Sunnyside Yards
by Cynthia Via
Aug 30, 2011 | 5130 views | 0 0 comments | 95 95 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, local elected officials and union leaders discuss the new federal Rail Grant to improve Sunnyside Rail Yard's Harold Interlocking in May.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, local elected officials and union leaders discuss the new federal Rail Grant to improve Sunnyside Rail Yard's Harold Interlocking in May.
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Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney last week praised the delivery of a $295 million federal grant to Harold Interlocking, a junction point in Sunnyside Yards.

The grant will help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) relieve major delays at Harold Interlocking – a problem that has plagued travelers for years.

Harold Interlocking is the busiest passenger rail junction 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.

Issues with the three systems include constant delays and disruptions at Pennsylvania Station and on the Northeast Corridor.

The funding allows the MTA to construct a bypass to provide Amtrak with conflict-free access to Harold Interlocking, which would further reduce delays for trains to and from Boston and pave the way for high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor. Construction on the project is set to begin in September 2012.

Back in May of this year at a press conference in Sunnyside, Maloney and other local elected officials explained how they received the grant and its many benefits for the economy.

The funding is part of $2 billion in high-speed rail grants announced by the federal government earlier in May. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the MTA applied for the grant in April after governor Rick Scott of Florida turned down the high-speed rail funding for his state.

“The goal of the project is to create more efficient use for the area,” 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.”

Maloney released a report in May highlighting the economic benefits the grant holds for the community. Her report stated that the grant will create 9,213 jobs over the five-year life of the project, boost economic activity in the region by $585.9 million and pave the way for high-speed rail along the Northeast Corridor, which will create about 44,000 jobs and $33 billion in wages annually over the project’s 25-year construction cycle.

“This project will relieve one of the worst choke points in our entire transit system,” she said.

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