And on Friday Governor Paterson announced that key agreements had been reached between the New York State DOT and CSX Transportation to develop a high-speed rail system.
"The State's agreements with CSXT are a significant step toward bringing high speed passenger rail to New York on the Empire Corridor," Governor Paterson said. "The deadlock has been broken allowing for the program to move forward."
The projects will target the Empire Corridor, the 463-mile area between Penn Station and Niagra Falls that connects most of the state's major cities, with the goal of improving passenger rail speeds.
The act "is expected to create or save tens of thousands of jobs over time in areas like track-laying, manufacturing, planning, engineering, and rail maintenance and operations," according to the Federal DOT.
As part of the first stage in the Act's down payment of $8 billion over the next few years, the federal government has delivered nearly $80 million on May 27 to state railroads across the country.
The next step for New York is an Environmental Impact Statement, an assessment of the areas where improvements have been suggested.
The Statement will build on a number of previous NYSDOT studies conducted with the intention of creating a "a long range, comprehensive, high-speed intercity passenger rail investment strategy," said the NYSDOT in a press release.
The improvements to high-speed rail service are set to be complete in mid-2012, according to engineering firm HNTB, who has been contracted to complete the project.