Yup, I bet that headline got your attention. High speed rail between Sullivan County and NYC has been as much — or even more — of a dream for Sullivan County boosters than casinos. The Mid-Hudson News reported today (see report) that Sullivan County’s 2 state legislators, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and State Senator John Bonacic, have introduced a bill to form a commission to study a high speed rail line for Orange and Sullivan counties. Now, introducing a bill to form a commission to study something is a long way from that something actually happening. But its a start. The timing may be right, though. 3 plans are under study to replace or expand the Tappan Zee Bridge, and one of those plans includes adding a rail line across the Hudson to connect Rockland County, west of the Hudson, with Metro North lines east of the Hudson. A Sullivan/Orange rail line could be included as part of that comprehensive plan.
This is not something that will happen in the short term. But I, for one, applaud out legislators for getting us into the transportation debate and looking to this region as a likely growth area from the city. The Port Authority of NY/NJ’s decision to take over Stewart Airport in Newburgh as the NY region’s 4th airport can only strengthen the argument for high speed rail in this direction, as well.