July 25, 2016
SCHUMER ANNOUNCES: FINAL HURDLES HAVE BEEN CLEARED, AMTRAK
BOARD WILL AWARD HORNELL`S ALSTOM START OF $2.5 BILLION PROGRAM
TO BUILD SAFER, NEXT-GENERATION HIGH-SPEED TRAINS
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For Immediate release
Schumer Announces: Final Hurdles Have Been Cleared, Amtrak Board Will Award Hornell`s Alstom Start Of $2.5 Billion Program To Build Safer, Next-Generation High-Speed Trains; Senator Says Project Will Create 750 Jobs Including 400 Direct Manufacturing Jobs At Alstom In Hornell
July 25, 2016
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Amtrak Board of Directors are expected to vote this week to support finalization of negotiations with Alstom provide new Next Generation High-Speed trains for Amtrak`s Acela Express service as part of a $2.5 billion program that will create over 750 jobs, including 400 jobs directly at Alstom in Hornell. Additionally, Schumer announced that with his support, final federal financing approvals have been secured, clearing the way for execution of an agreement between Amtrak and Alstom. According to company executives, Alstom anticipates such a contract would create approximately 400 jobs in Hornell and potentially an additional 350 or more across the rest of New York. With more than 750 jobs expected between the Alstom`s Hornell facility and the ripple effect this massive contract would have throughout Upstate NY, Schumer said it would be a win for the entire Upstate NY economy. Schumer has worked aggressively for over a year to gain the federal approvals needed, including a major federal loan for Amtrak, to make this project a reality.
``Amtrak and Alstom signing on the dotted line is the final stop in this long journey to bring hundreds of good paying jobs to the economically struggling Southern Tier,`` said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. ``This contract is a win-win-win that will improve rail safety, bring jobs to Upstate New York, and improve the Amtrak experience for passengers along the entire Northeast Corridor.``
With Amtrak`s final stamp of approval, Schumer said Alstom and its employees would have new opportunities to play a leading role in helping to design and construct the latest in high-speed rail technology. This project has the potential to provide a tremendous lift to the area`s high-tech manufacturing sector. For more than 150 years, Alstom has manufactured and serviced trains across the U.S. creating good, sustainable jobs in the City of Hornell, the Southern Tier, and across America.
Schumer has strongly supporter opportunities for growth at Alstom`s Hornell facility, which has, for more than 150 years, been manufacturing and servicing high-quality trains in Hornell. He visited Alstom in Hornell on several occasions most recently last September, to announce and celebrate with local leaders the Amtrak Board of Directors` entrance into negotiations with Alstom to provide a replacement for Amtrak`s current Acela Express trains. In June 2015, Schumer visited Alstom in Hornell to urge the Department of Transportation (USDOT) to green light Amtrak`s efforts to buy brand new Next Generation High-Speed trains. During his visit, Schumer explained that, currently, Acela Express service is at a critical stage because the leases on its current trains, which were acquired in 1994, are set to expire in the next six to eight years - between 2021 and 2023 - depending on the train. As a result, Schumer said, Amtrak must advance the production of its next generation of the Next Generation High- Speed Trainsets quickly, as they will not only replace the existing fleet but also greatly improve service, capacity, reliability, safety, and trip times. The USDOT, through both waivers and approved financing - through its Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) program - plays a critical role in allowing Amtrak to undertake this important effort. Through the RIFF program, the USDOT authorizes and provides direct loans and loan guarantees to finance the development of railroad infrastructure, including rolling stock and equipment. In this case Amtrak has, with Schumer`s support, finally secured such a loan in order to help pay for the Next Generation High-Speed trains.
Schumer said the need for better trains along the NEC is clearer now more than ever, as Acela Express service has set revenue and ridership records over the past several years. In FY 2014, the Acela Express service saw 28 days where daily trips exceeded 14,000 passengers, compared to just five such days in FY 2013. As passenger ridership is projected to continue increasing in the coming years and with Amtrak offering affordable fares, there is a significant need to increase the capacity size for Amtrak trains as soon as possible. Procuring new trains made by American manufacturers and suppliers would prove to be a win-win, as it would meet Amtrak`s increased passenger load while providing jobs for American workers. Therefore, as a result of ridership and ticket revenue on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) line increasing over the last decade, Amtrak turned to companies like Hornell`s Alstom to purchase trains that meet the high demand and quality conditions.
Alstom employs over 1,000 people in Upstate NY and the number is growing. Over the years, Alstom`s committed workforce has delivered steam, diesel-electric, electric, and high-speed rail technology, including more than 7,000 transit vehicles, to U.S. customers. Schumer said the company is widely recognized for its deep understanding of U.S. regulations and standards, delivering trains with the highest quality and reliability in the market.