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Paterson Announces Economic Recovery Funding For Long Island Rail Spur

Originally Posted: February 11, 2010

The Riverhead Town Board awarded a construction contract to restore a short rail line connecting EPCAL with the Long Island Railroad main line. (railpace.com)

Riverhead - Governor David A. Paterson announced another milestone at the Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL) rail spur project in Riverhead, Suffolk County, which will help to enhance Long Island's freight delivery infrastructure and provide a more environmentally sound way to transport goods on Long Island. The Riverhead Town Board awarded a construction contract that will use $3.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to restore a short rail line connecting EPCAL with the Long Island Railroad main line, helping to transform the park into a modern intermodal freight terminal for Eastern Long Island.

"I want to thank President Obama and the entire New York State Congressional Delegation, especially Congressman Tim Bishop, for their work to secure this critical funding," Governor Paterson said. "This rail improvement project will create jobs, rejuvenate freight rail service to EPCAL, help lower the cost of shipping goods on Long Island and reduce truck traffic on area highways."

New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee said, "This ARRA-funded rail spur project will help improve the business climate in Suffolk County, create jobs for construction workers and others and ease congestion on local roads by enabling goods to be shipped by rail. Governor Paterson is dedicated to using ARRA funds to create and maintain jobs, which strengthens New York's economy and makes it a better place to live and do business."

The Calverton Rail Access Rehabilitation and Development Project will renovate the rail line and reactive rail service to the park. The rail spur was constructed by the Grumman Corporation, which ceased operations at the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant at Calverton in the 1990s. The Town of Riverhead took ownership of the 2,900-acre property in 1998 and has redeveloped it into an industrial park. The rail spur runs along the south side of Connecticut Avenue and crosses Grumman Blvd.

Governor Paterson certified ARRA funding for the town-sponsored project last November. The Town Board awarded a contract to Railroad Construction Company, Inc. of Paterson, NJ, for $3,496,684. The company was the lowest of seven bidders for the job. Construction is expected to begin early this spring. The project is scheduled for completion next winter.

"Investing Recovery Act funding in Long Island's freight infrastructure is a win-win," U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said. "Not only will these funds create needed construction jobs in Riverhead and ease traffic congestion along highways, but it will lower the cost of transporting goods on Long Island. This project is a great example of how the stimulus is creating jobs and essential new infrastructure to build a stronger economy."

Congressman Tim Bishop, who worked to fund the rail extension as a Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said, "There are businesses that want to come to Calverton who will now have the incentive to do so," said Congressman Bishop. "This project is a win-win-win for Long Island. Transporting goods by freight to and from Calverton will lower the costs of goods, create jobs and remove trucks from our crowded roadways."

State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle said, "I have been an advocate of the Calverton Rail Spur project as an integral component of Riverhead's economic engine and was instrumental in securing $500,000 in the 2003 MTA Capital Program Funds for its refurbishment. I am pleased that the town has resolved the issues that have delayed this project and are now moving forward with creating a freight rail service that will provide an environmentally friendly way to transport goods to eastern Long Island."

Assemblyman Marc S. Alessi said, ""The restoration of the Calverton Rail Spur for freight train transportation to the East End is extremely crucial to the revitalization of the EPCAL site. This latest development helps move us forward in terms of economic development. This rail spur is essential to making sure that EPCAL reaches its full potential."

Town of Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said, "Riverhead's location at the terminus of the LIE as the gateway to the North and South Fork makes it a natural location for transportation efficiencies. We are eager to put this rail to use and hope this is the first of many sustainable transportation systems to arrive in Riverhead. We expect this project to reduce costs of business for many EPCAL businesses - companies that create 100s of jobs for the area and will expand into new markets with reduced shipping costs. East Enders will benefit from lower priced goods and LIers will benefit from truck reduction on LIE. We thank NYSDOT for the critical project support on this ARRA construction project that coordinated local, state and federal resources - particular thanks to NYSERDA, LIRR, HDR, Empire State Development and our dedicated elected officials at the state and federal level."

The Calverton project also has received two other grants from New York State. The State Energy Research and Development Authority last March provided $75,000 towards the engineering study and designs for the project. In October, Governor Paterson announced the award of $650,000 from the New York State Downstate Revitalization Fund for preliminary work on the project.

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