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State names Marie Corrado as director of high-speed rail effort

State names Marie Corrado as director of high-speed rail effort

The state has named a project director to oversee New York’s high-speed rail program, fulfilling a r

The state has named a project director to oversee New York’s high-speed rail program, fulfilling a request made by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

Marie A. Corrado will head up the state’s effort to secure $151 million in federal stimulus money for seven high-speed rail projects.

The projects include construction of a second track between Rensselaer and Schenectady and construction of a high-speed rail line near Batavia. The federal money remains in jeopardy because the state needs to secure a framework agreement with CSX, Amtrak and the Federal Rail Administration by September.

CSX has a prior agreement with the state Department of Transportation stating that passenger trains running in proximity to its freight trains cannot exceed 90 mph. The prior agreement also states that high-speed tracks have to be 30 feet away from a CSX freight track. The state is attempting to renegotiate those terms.

Corrado is the state Department of Transportation’s director of major projects. She replaces Ann Purdue, former high-speed rail director, who resigned in April.

Published reports said she resigned because Gov. David Paterson wanted to modify the agreement with CSX over rail speeds.

Gillibrand last week asked the state to appoint a replacement for Purdue to match the federal government’s commitment to keep the high-speed rail projects on track. Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently appointed his deputy administrator, Karen Rae, to help secure the framework agreement.

Stanley Gee, acting state DOT commissioner, said that in addition to appointing Corrado, the state has added engineering and project management staff to teams heading up the high-speed rail projects.

“Marie Corrado and the teams assembled to deliver the program share with me the commitment to making the expansion of high-speed passenger rail service in New York state a reality,” Gee said.

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