Experts will advise Cuomo on high-speed rail options in 2020

Photo by Mark Hallum

Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to convene a panel of experts to hopefully improve rail access across the state.

Cuomo announced Thursday that he plans to call for a meeting of the minds to bring long-sought high-speed rail to New York’s Empire Corridor between the city and Niagara Falls.

The panel of engineers, yet to be assembled, will recommend how the New York should go about building faster, more environmentally friendly rail service — a prospect that has been discussed for more than a decade — as the 13th proposal of the 2020 State of the State agenda.

“High-speed rail is transforming economies around the world. We’ve been told that bringing this technology to our state is too expensive, too difficult and would take too long — that’s not an acceptable attitude for New York,” Cuomo said. “When we developed our plan to repair the L Train Tunnel, the team of experts we assembled questioned every assumption and brought new creativity to a seemingly intractable problem. We not only found a way to repair the tunnel without shutting down service, we are doing it ahead of schedule.”

The Empire Corridor is 460 miles of rail that links New York City, Albany and Buffalo with a majority of the state’s population residing nearby, according to the governor’s office.

But the average speeds are 51 miles per hour making train travel the slowest option in the state, Cuomo said.

The panel will determine a cost estimate on the project and the governor’s office said there is a five-year commitment of $150 billion to infrastructure plan. The last infrastructure plan operated on a commitment of $100 billion and recently wrapped up after funding the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and the 2nd Avenue Subway among other projects.

This story first appeared on amny.com.