Date: Feb 10, 2002
Press Release Number: 200-2002
Governor George E. Pataki today announced that the Port Authority is beginning a study that could give Staten Island residents relief from crowded highways and lengthy commutes.
The study will explore options for reviving commuter rail service along the rapidly growing North Shore of Staten Island. Alternatives include restoring public transit along the dormant North Shore Rail Line, which ceased passenger operations in 1953 and freight service in 1991.
The Port Authority will study the use of passenger trains similar to those used on the existing Staten Island Rapid Transit system, or light-rail vehicles. Another concept would allow the rail right of way to be used by buses.
\"Traffic-choked highways on Staten Island cry out for relief. During its heyday, the North Shore Rail Line whisked commuters and leisure travelers alike from one end of the island to the other in 17 minutes, less than half the time the trip now takes by car or bus,\" Governor Pataki said.
\"The North Shore Rail Line would provide commuters with a quick, convenient way to get to the Staten Island Ferry for the trip to Manhattan, where they can link with PATH or various New York City subway lines,\" Governor Pataki said. \"This rail line would build on our initiatives to connect the region\'s public transit network.\"
Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro said, \"I thank Governor Pataki and the Port Authority for providing the funds to undertake this very important study of the North Shore Railroad. I am certain that the study will prove the necessity of revitalizing the rail line, which in turn will help stimulate the economy of the North Shore and alleviate overcrowding on our roads. The Railroad is our best alternative for reducing reliance on passenger cars.\"
Senator John J. Marchi said: \"Governor George E. Pataki should be commended on his announcement that the Port Authority was beginning a study to explore the options for reviving commuter rail service along the dormant North Shore rail line. It should receive an affirmative response throughout Staten Island.\"
\"The statements by the Port Authority\'s Director, Joseph J. Seymour, and Vice Chairman, Charles Gargano, indicate that the initiative goes beyond speculation and embraces the manifest auspices advanced by virtually all of our local legislators including, over the years, our Congress members Susan Molinari and Vito Fossella and former Assemblywoman Betty Connelly. There are major concerns to be met and the responsibility we all have, to advance public hearings and informed comment. The Governor\'s pledge comes at a fortuitous time and opens the door to early and earnest implementing effort,\" Senator Marchi said.
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, \"The growth of Staten Island\'s North Shore has been phenomenal during the past decade. It serves as home to a new minor league ballpark, a major marine terminal, numerous cultural organizations and steady residential growth. This rail line would help address the key transportation needs of this area.\"
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, \"This study will continue the Port Authority\'s long-standing commitment to Staten Island. We are investing millions of dollars to upgrade the Howland Hook Marine Terminal which provides jobs and economic benefits for local residents and we plan to build an ExpressRail facility there to help reduce truck traffic on local roads. And we will spend millions more to upgrade the bridges that transport Staten Islanders to and from New Jersey.\"
The North Shore Rail Line study will explore various alternatives to reactivate the line. The study also will look at ridership projections and the cost to restore the right-of-way, parts of which are in severe disrepair. The study is estimated to cost approximately $300,000.