Federal officials say $1.5 million in funding is finally in hand, for a new train station in Rochester.
The money is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter was joined by state and federal transportation officials in announcing the funding, at a news conference Monday.
The event was held at Rochester’s Amtrak station. As train stations go, it’s nothing fancy.
“It could use some improvement,” said Daphne Riley, who lives in New York City and was in Rochester to visit her son, a student at RIT. Riley says the amenities and atmosphere at the station here pale in comparison to others along the route.
“This one, it seems to need more repairs than the others,” she said.
That is a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed in Washington.
“Boy, we really need a new railroad station, don’t we?” remarked Congresswoman Slaughter (D-Fairport). “This one's pretty sad.”
Slaughter says the $1.5 million will help pay for the design and planning of a new intermodal train station, which will include a bus station as well. Officials say the new station will be key to helping make high speed rail a success.
“We know the only way rail is going to make sense for the future, is when you get off that train, if you have a real option of how to get into the city or how to get to your final destination,” said Karen Rae, deputy administrator with the Federal Railroad Administration.
Travelers used words like "dismal" and "embarrassing" to describe Rochester's current Amtrak station.
“If they did a better job or put some effort into cleaning up this station or putting some work into it, it would make it a more attractive package for me,” said Craig Barrett, who was on his way from Rochester to New York for business.
When the current station was built, it was only supposed to be a temporary facility. That was 1978. The conversation about building a new station has been going on virtually ever since.
Slaughter, and both state and federal transportation officials told us it's too soon to say when Rochester will finally get a new train station. It’s one passengers say is long overdue.