Utica, NY (WIBX) - Efforts to bring the long anticipated high speed rail to Upstate New York are moving forward with the first ever High Speed Rail Conference in the State taking place in New York City. Governor Paterson, who spoke during the event said the outcome of the project is contingent with efforts to help revitalize the state's economy. He said the project is on the right track, and a good investment in the economic future of the state.

He said, "Fast, reliable and environmentally sound travel is an essential investment in our State's economic future and I am pleased to say we are on the right track." The governor continued his remarks saying, "High speed rail is coming to New York, because we along with our Federal partners recognize that retrenchment of our transportation infrastructure goals is not an option. I thank the Federal government and our private partners for working with us to help bring high speed rail to the Empire State and I commend the United States High Speed Rail Association for selecting New York to host their 2010 conference."

Paterson urged the federal government to continue their support for the project by awarding Federal Rail Funding rejected by other states to New York and said the investment will help make the State's strategy to revitalize the economy, create jobs and attract 21st century industry, a reality. According to a released statement from the governor's office, funding for the project include a $2.5 million dollar discretionary grant for the construction of an HSR facility in Niagara Falls, and the Federal Railroad Administration awarded the State $28.5 million dollars under the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program for three projects across the State.

FRA also awarded the State $151 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for high-speed intercity passenger rail improvements. And recently, Paterson signed into law legislation establishing the New York State High Speed Rail Planning Board to help oversee all future planning and construction of the project. Paterson said the outcome of the long awaited project centers on the states goals for its infrastructure and transportation future.