Governor Shumlin applauds new rail designation for high speed corridor

first_imgGovernor Peter Shumlin said today he’s pleased that the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) is designating the Northeast Corridor (NEC) as a ‘high speed rail corridor,’ a definition that allows NEC states to compete for federal rail funds.As Chair of the Transportation Committee for the Coalition of New England Governors (CONEG), Shumlin has been working with his counterparts across the region to advance the vision for a regional high speed rail network. ‘This is an important step for advancing the New England rail network. It will finally enable the Northeast Corridor to compete for federal rail dollars,’ Gov. Shumlin said. ‘Enhancing passenger rail investments throughout our region will benefit Vermont’s vision of a robust and vibrant passenger rail network connecting Vermont with New York, Boston, and Montreal.’ The Governor said rail investments throughout the region will continue to reduce travel times along the Amtrak route, increase mobility for Vermonters and improve energy efficiency across our region. ‘I am pleased to be working in concert with other New England Governors to make this vision a reality,’ he said.As part of the Northern New England network, Vermont is already eligible for such designated funds. However, the NEC is a linchpin in the broader regional rail network. With this decision, projects along the Northeast Corridor will now be able to compete on a’ level planning field’ for any current and future federal funds intended to improve and advance high speed rail corridors and service. Without this designation the NEC, including the congested Boston-to-Washington Corridor, would be ineligible to pursue these federal funds.The CONEG Governors recently wrote to USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood urging that all the northeast states be considered in the reallocation of any high speed-intercity passenger rail grant funds that might become available. Home to more than 20 percent of the nation’s population, the northeast states have worked cooperatively to advance projects needed to improve the current rail system, and develop joint plans and projects that contribute to the goal of high quality, expanded passenger rail service and significantly increased ridership.MONTPELIER — 3.15.2011last_img read more

FB : Future SU players complete high school careers with Upstate-Downstate Football Classic

first_img Published on June 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Stephen: sebail01@syr.edu | @Stephen_Bailey1 Comments Devante McFarlane arched his neck and gazed up at nearly 50,000 empty seats.Standing by the locker room entrance before Friday’s 3 p.m. practice, he turned his head right, and then left, exploring the Carrier Dome stands.The senior running back at Half Hollow Hills West High School and incoming freshman at Syracuse envisioned the stadium filled with fans. And soon that vision will become a reality.‘It’s amazing,’ McFarlane said. ‘The Carrier Dome, it’s crazy.‘I’ve seen it packed before. I’ve been to a couple games, and just knowing it’s going to be my home, it’s just a blessing.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut before McFarlane becomes a member of the Orange, he has one final high school game: the Upstate-Downstate Football Classic. The third annual high school all-star game between the best high school players from upstate and downstate New York will take place Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Carrier Dome, and McFarlane is one of three future SU players participating.McFarlane, offensive lineman Omari Palmer and safety Wayne Morgan will all suit up for the downstate team, which looks for its third consecutive victory.Heading into his third day of practice, McFarlane said the experience has been a special one. Intense at times, but relaxed and enjoyable nonetheless.‘We have the kids that want to have fun, and then we have the competitors,’ McFarlane said. ‘I’m a little bit of both. I don’t like losing so I guess I’m more of a competitor, but I like to have fun too. I’m not all about just straight competing.’Palmer called it ‘the best of both worlds.’ But soon that world will shift from high school to college.Palmer, McFarlane and Morgan have already discussed how special it is for them to go through that transition together in the Dome on Sunday. McFarlane smirked when asked about their futures and called SU a good fit.At SU, he will join a deep running back corps that has no determined starter. Prince-Tyson Gulley, Adonis Ameen-Moore and Jerome Smith are expected to vie for carries entering training camp.Morgan, ranked the 11th-best safety nationwide by ESPN, will look to bolster an SU secondary that unraveled down the stretch of last season.And Palmer – a monstrous 6-foot-3, 330-pound Class AA all-state selection from Longwood High School – will start at right tackle on Sunday, but could play either guard or tackle at SU. With the right side of last year’s starting line lost to graduation, he could be needed to make an immediate effect.That’s an opportunity Palmer said he would cherish.‘Just to play college football,’ Palmer said. ‘To play against the best, the top players in the Big East and eventually the ACC, just to come to college, to continue my education and to meet new people, and just to, to grow.’But there’s still one more game before Palmer, McFarlane and Morgan join the collegiate ranks. On Sunday afternoon, the Carrier Dome will open its gates and fans will file in, but likely to just the lower level.For the three future members of the Orange, the crowds will only grow.‘It’s exciting to come in here, to look at the dome and to see the immense space, the area and how big it is,’ Palmer said, ‘and to imagine it packed with fans for a big game.’sebail01@syr.educenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

The Right Thing

first_imgThe Great Recession has ended, economists tell us, but don’t expect to be rewarded anytime soon. In fact, unemployment is expected to continue to rise well into next year.So what’s wrong with this picture?The problem lies in the measure used to assess the state of the economy — the gross domestic product (GDP), which tracks the nation’s total production of goods and services. And that measure, according to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, “will increase slightly over the remainder of 2009.”Now a 290-page report delivered in September by a commission established by French Pres. Nicholas Sarkozy under Nobel Prize-winning economists Joseph E Stiglitz and Amaryta Sen has posed a frontal challenge to the unhealthy global obsession with GDP. It points out that GDP does not discriminate between different economic activities. It cites the example of traffic congestion, which has the effect of bolstering GDP because of heightened gasoline consumption, but which also increases air pollution and diminishes the quality of life. GDP also ignores non-market activities, such as the labor of volunteers and home workers and undercounts the goods and services generated by the state. Many of these criticisms have been sounded since the 1970s and over the past four decades scholars have constructed nearly 30 alternative social and economic indicators, most notably the United Nations Development Programme’s human development index (HDI), which since 1990 has factored in life expectancy, literacy and education. In 2007, the United Nations Environmental Programme launched The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project, whose 2008 interim report estimated the loss of natural capital to deforestation and environmental degradation at between $2 trillion to $4.5 trillion annually. Still policy makers worldwide remain fixated on GDP.However, there may be greater receptivity among governments blindsided by the current economic crisis to new criticisms that the GDP is juiced by inflated asset values and borrowed money. As the commission report points out: “Your measure of output is grossly distorted by the failure of our accounting system…. The time is ripe for our measurement system to shift emphasis from measuring economic production to measuring people’s wellbeing.” The French statistics agency is already working to adopt the commission’s recommendations.Economists have long conceded that GDP is not a measure of social progress. For instance, it does not address consumption or income distribution, nor take account of defrayed costs in pollution and depletion of natural resources. The commission advocates incorporating non-material indicators, such as health care, education, work conditions, governance, environment, economic and physical security, as well as subjective wellbeing.This is not just an esoteric economic exercise. As commission chairman Stiglitz said: “What you measure affects what you do. If you don’t measure the right thing, you don’t do the right thing.”It might be good advice not just for nations, but for individuals as well. Indian Americans, who boast the highest median household income in the United States, have long been self-absorbed with their personal GDP. But are we measuring — and doing — the right thing?  Related Itemslast_img read more