State approves $1 million in upgrades to railroad that passes through Orleans

Photo by Tom Rivers: A Genesee Valley Transportation train travels through Albion in this photo from March. Some Albion students were doing a cleanup day near the railroad tracks.

Staff Reports Posted 4 February 2022 at 1:14 pm

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $76.4 million in funding for 38 projects to renew and modernize New York’s freight rail infrastructure, including $985,000 to the Falls Road Railroad Company.

Genesee Valley Transportation in Batavia owns Falls Road, a railroad that runs from Lockport to Brockport, and includes about 25 miles in Orleans County.

The funding for Falls Road will go toward safety and service reliability enhancements, including the replacement of the rail bridge deck over the Erie Canal and ties along the mainline.

The $76.4 million announced by Hochul’s office on Thursday are 100 percent state-funded grants. They complement the more than $100 million annually in private infrastructure investments made in New York by the freight rail industry.

Strategic investments in freight rail improvements are essential for maintaining and enhancing market access for manufacturing and agricultural businesses across the State, including Alcoa in the North Country Region, Corning in the Southern Tier Region, and Lackawanna Products in the Western New York Region, Hochul said.

“The infrastructure projects funded with these grants will further fuel our economic comeback with new construction jobs, while making regional economies more competitive in the long term and enhancing the movement of commodities in an environmentally sustainable way,” the governor said in a news release. “As New York leads the nation in its efforts to combat climate change, we will continue to prioritize funding for initiatives that promote economic growth in a responsible manner while mitigating threats to our environment.”

The Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance Program, administered by the New York State Department of Transportation, supports investments that enhance the safe movement of freight goods, improves service reliability to retain and grow manufacturing jobs, and supports economic development, especially upstate, Hochul said.