Amtrak is getting $22 million of your state tax dollars…all to make sure the service continues and maybe improves. An agreement announced today has New York picking up a portion of the costs of four specific routes, with the federal government also subsidizing a share. Transportation Department Spokesperson Beau Duffy explains the support helps some of the busiest lines…and can perhaps lead to improvements.
“You get a lot of trains coming in to Albany from Central New York and Northern New York, a lot of folks trying to get down to New York City, so that corridor tends to be very busy. The state being involved means the state can work directly on improving service with Amtrak.”
The subsidized lines include the Empire, the Adirondack, the Maple Leaf and the Ethan Allen routes.
AGREEMENT INCLUDES SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS
Duffy says the investment helps stabilize the routes and the ticket prices…but also includes monitoring of service.
“That’ll include such things as: how often the trains run on time; we’ll look at the cleanliness of the trains; turnaround times, which essentially means how fast the trains get empties out at the station; and the cleanliness of the Amtrak-operated facilities. Amtrak does operate some of the stations.”
Duffy explains that data will lead to suggestions for improvements, that could be tied to financial incentives or penalties. A 2008 transportation law requires New York and the Federal government to subsidize Amtrak operations and maintenance to ensure the transportation option for New Yorkers. Duffy confirms the money is in the state budget…and suggests the investment keeps trains rolling on some of the busiest routes the link Upstate New York with New York City, Toronto and New England.