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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

New York senate legislation would create high-speed planning board


Yesterday, the New York state senate passed legislation that will create a temporary 11-member high-speed rail planning board within the state’s Department of Transportation (NYDOT).

The board would advise NYDOT on the implementation and financing of a high-speed rail system within the state and make recommendations on the organizational structure that ultimately would oversee the high-speed rail project and operate the system, according to a prepared statement issued by the senate.

According to the legislation (S8268), the new board would consist of the commissioner of NYDOT, the president of Metro-North Railroad and seven members appointed by the governor. Two would be based on the recommendation of the temporary senate president, two on the recommendation of the speaker of the assembly and one each on the recommendation of the senate and assembly minority leaders. All members would be non-salaried.

The legislation also would establish the qualifications for board members and require that they be appointed within 30 days and that the board meet publicly at least quarterly.

The board also would be charged with providing NYDOT with input on environmental impact studies needed for planning the high-speed rail system; collecting public opinions, including holding at least six public hearings across the state; evaluating all existing high-speed rail systems and making recommendations to the state; researching options for agreements with private entities needed to permit high-speed trains and making recommendations to NYDOT; and reporting to the governor and legislature within two years on a fully developed consensus for the financing of the high-speed rail plan, as well as the organizational entity that should oversee it.

“Without a plan, high-speed rail in New York won’t make it out of the station. We need a viable, realistic approach that incorporates the best of the public and private sectors. Each and every New Yorker is a stakeholder when it comes to high-speed rail, because everyone will benefit from it,” said state Sen. Martin Malavé Dilan, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/24/2010