May 31, 2012
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Plan to Rid New York of Trains to Nowhere That Wasted Tens of Millions in Taxpayer Dollars

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced plans to dispose of outdated, obsolete and non-functioning trains that have been sitting idle in a weed filled industrial park in Glenville. In addition, millions of dollars of unused and unneeded replacement train parts that have been stored in a warehouse in Rotterdam will also be sold. Taxpayers will save more than $150,000 in yearly lease costs as well as benefit from the proceeds from the sale and disposition of the equipment.

 

"I have repeatedly said that state government must be more efficient and must stop wasting taxpayer money," said Governor Cuomo. "In this case, millions of dollars of taxpayer money were used to buy obsolete equipment, and hundreds of thousands more spent to store it. This is exactly why we are scouring through the operations of every agency - to make sure cases like this are found and stopped."

 

The trains were part of a high speed rail program that was launched in 1998 and was supposed to provide faster service between Albany and New York City. Originally built in 1976, seven train cars were supposed to be rehabilitated and upgraded for $70 million as part of the $185 million project. Two trains were upgraded and put into service for a short period in 2003. But poor planning and engineering problems made the trains unusable and the program was stopped. Since then four of the trains each consisting of two locomotives, a caf car, and two passenger cars have been decaying in an industrial rail yard. Today, these types of trains are considered obsolete, with none in service in the United States, and are used in only a handful of countries around the world.

 

The trains were identified for disposition during our ongoing review of New York state agenciesa review meant to root out waste. At the Governors direction, the Office of General Services (OGS) will oversee the sale and disposal of the locomotives, cars and unneeded rail parts located at the Rotterdam and Scotia Industrial Parks. OGS will engage a technology parts broker to assess the value and condition of the trains and the parts, and to manage the sale and disposition of the equipment. The trains may have to be sold for scrap, depending on the outcome of the evaluation. Industry experts will help determine how best to sell the equipment by the end of the year.

 

The locomotives and train cars, in various stages of disrepair, have been stored at a facility in Scotia, Schenectady County, at an annual cost of $58,000. The unneeded train parts are warehoused in Rotterdam, also in Schenectady County, at an annual cost of $95,000. New York state has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for leasing spaces to store this equipment.

 

The millions of dollars of train parts stored at the warehouse would fit into more than 100 tractor trailer trucks and include:

 

  • 4 large turbine engines
  • 4 medium sized turbine engines
  • 1 used medium sized turbine engine
  • 8 train transmissions
  • 8 new large electric generators
  • HVAC systems
  • Hundreds of seat frames, cushions and upholstery
  • Dozens of new train wheels and brake rotors

Howard Glaser, Director of State Operations, said, "There is no better example of the extent of government dysfunction inherited by Governor Cuomo than these rusted and rotting trains to nowhere which wasted millions in tax dollars. Our efforts to root out government waste will end these shocking examples of poor planning and incompetent management that have plagued New York State government for a decade."

 

The Governor's plan to rid the state of these trains is part of his overhaul of New York's government operations. In February, Governor Cuomo launched the "NYSStore," a new eBay-based online platform to sell unneeded state vehicles and other items, as well as real estate available through eBay and other means. To date, more than 108,909 people have visited NYSStore.com. Since the "NYSStore" launch, the state has sold $ 258,212,02 worth of non-vehicle excess state assets, and 324 excess vehicles, totaling in $1,129,533.29.

 

Governor Cuomo's administration has taken a different approach to high speed rail development, one designed to deliver tangible improvements in reliability, on-time performance and speed. Seven major rail projects are underway, with $567.3 million in funding from the federal government matched by $104.4 million from the state. The projects focus on improving, upgrading, and modernizing the states rail infrastructure to eliminate current problems and put the state on track to the rail system of the future. Work underway now includes:

 

  • Harold Interlocking - Harold Interlocking is the busiest passenger rail interlocking in North America, serving 783 Amtrak, LIRR and NJ Transit trains each weekday 136 of them are Amtrak trains. The project will build separate tracks for Amtrak between Hell Gate Bridge and Penn Station. Cost: $368.2M
  • 4th Track at Rensselaer Station Project a new passenger track to eliminate congestion and delays at the station caused by trains waiting for the platform to become available. Cost: $50.5M
  • Albany Schenectady Double Track Project building 17 miles of new track where only a single track exists, eliminating a critical bottleneck for the entire corridor. Cost: $91.2M
  • Two signal line projects on the Hudson Line: replace obsolete signal wires that are the source of frequent outages along the Hudson line. Cost: $36.5M
  • Ballston Spa 2nd Main Track Canadian Pacific Railways is adding a track near Saratoga Station and the busy Saratoga Freight Yard, reducing delays to Amtraks Adirondack Service. Cost: $6.63M
  • Station Improvements at Buffalo Depew Station project will improve the station building and parking lot. Cost: $770K
  • Schenectady Station building new track and infrastructure while CDTA constructs a replacement station. Cost: $13.5M
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