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Today, Amtrak's board is expected to select Alstom as the train provider as part of a $2.5 billion program to build the next generation of high-speed trains that will operate on the Northeast Corridor, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced yesterday.Amtrak's board is set to give Amtrak management the green light to negotiate a final contract with Alstom, with the goal of final approval by Dec. 31, according to Schumer's press release."This contract will add a massive injection of economic energy and hundreds of good-paying jobs for the economically struggling Southern Tier," Schumer said. "It will prove to be a win-win-win that would improve rail safety, bring jobs to Upstate New York, and improve the Amtrak experience for passengers along the entire Northeast Corridor."The project also will require final approval of funding through the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program. Schumer indicated that he would continue to urge the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide Amtrak with the necessary approvals so that it can advance the project quickly.The timing of Amtrak's plan to buy next generation high-speed trains is at a critical stage for Acela service in the Northeast Corridor because the railroad's leases on its current trains, which were acquired in 1994, are set to expire over the next six to eight years, according to Schumer.The project is expected to create 750 jobs including 400 direct manufacturing jobs at Alstom's plant in Hornell, N.Y. An additional 350 positions could be created at other companies throughout upstate New York.
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