Today’s Headlines

  • Dems Need to Pick Off GOP State Senators to Get Votes For MTA Rescue (NYT, NY1)
  • News: Blame Gang of Three If MTA Doomsday Comes to Pass
  • Auditors Question GM’s Viability With or Without Another Bailout (NYT)
  • Bids Come in for First NY Stim Projects — All Upstate (Post)
  • TreeHugger Talks to Andy Kunz About Prospects for American High-Speed Rail
  • First Leg of Faster Rail in New York Would Run From Albany to Buffalo (Transport Politic)
  • Public Toilet for Grand Army Plaza Held Up By Landmarks Commission (News)
  • The Bike-Related Wisdom of Rush Limbaugh (DC Examiner via Streetsblog.net)
  • Dreaming of a Vertical Garden on the Willy-B (21st Century Plowshare)
  • We’ll Miss You, Bob Guskind (Curbed, OTBKB, New York Shitty, Bklyn Paper)
  • First Leg of HSR From Buffalo to Albany? Good.
    There needs to be “buy in” on the viability of rail throughout the state (but especially upstate) for transportation projects to get pushed throughout the state. If upstaters see the benefit of rail, chances are they will want a system that takes them from Buffalo to NYC soon enough.

  • Larry Littlefield

    My understanding is that Upstate Republicans are demanding that part of the 1/3 cent payroll tax collected in Downstate New York be used to fund road projects in Upstate New York, and that the MTA capital plan — now limited to ongoing normal replacement at a rate less than necessary to prevent long term system collapse — be cut back accordingly.

    There is precedent on their side. Even as the MTA has borrowed billions, some of the dedicated MTA funding has been use for road projects in the suburbs and transit system upstates. I guess that’s what Earl means by “getting something back” from the MTA.

    I still say “doomsday” is preferable. At this point, a system shutdown and economic collapse is preferable, if it would mean state bankruptcy and real “shared sacrifice.”

  • HSR from Albany to Buffalo seems like a good idea to me. First you have to actually do a good job of it of course, but my guess is that you’ll have an easier time finding space to lay tracks properly in that area than you would around here. Then, assuming you start a good system, you have natural extensions to NYC and to Boston once people realize travel by rail can be pleasant.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    There is still a budget to negotiate after this is all wrapped up, if it is wrapped up. Part of that budget is roads and bridges and thats a lot of money going to non-transit capital. The vehicle registration tax that so many city pols think could substitute for the bridge tolls is being eyed hungrily by the road and bridge crowd for state budget lubrication. The suburbs hate the vehicle registration tax maybe even more than they hate the payroll tax. If this gets fucked up bad enough some suburbanites will start to like the commuter tax as an alternative, others will say that higher MN and LIRR fares is a preferred solution to either as far as mass transit goes.

  • Rhywun

    First Leg of Faster Rail in New York Would Run From Albany to Buffalo

    This is *exactly* what I mean when I complain that projects get chosen based on politics rather than need. And this is one of the worst examples yet:

    1. There are already perfectly-good, under-utilized tracks between Buffalo and Albany. There are like 4 trains a day, and only near Albany do they start filling up (with passengers bound for NYC, of course).

    2. This so-called HSR is a diesel line. What’s wrong with the under-used diesel line that already exists?? And it’s not like they need an extra track for some sort of express service–the existing train doesn’t stop at any of the smaller, dying old towns anyway. There are only 5 or so stops between Buffalo and Albany.

    So, the demand isn’t there, and even if it were, the existing track could easily handle it! This is nothing more than a jobs program for upstate. The idea that this is some sort of test bed for a future connection to NYC is ridiculous. Believe me, nobody is going to ride it. And the future connection to NYC will never get built.

  • jmc

    Albany-Buffalo is truly ridiculous. There is a HSR opportunity with NYC-Albany that’s just waiting to be completed, with the locomotives in drydock and everything. This would actually have ridership and would help stimulate the upstate economy. Albany-Buffalo will do NOTHING. You’re connecting two car-based cities with declining economies.