SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Empire State Passengers Association had its annual meeting in Schenectady Saturday morning to discuss infrastructure developments and the expansion of services. Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy was among those who attended the meeting, and he says any improvement or form of expansion can only help the economy.

“Train travel is a part of that. It’s part of the economic development message,” he said. “It’s part of the growth of this region and as a country as a whole.”

Rail officials announced that the Livingston Avenue Bridge Project passed the last hurdle with the Federal Railroad Administration. The new $400 million bridge will connect the cities of Albany and Rensselaer over the Hudson River. According to officials, construction is expected to start by the end of 2023.

Ray Hessinger is the Director of the Freedom Passage and Rail Bureau, and he says the amount of passengers traveling via train is getting even closer to pre-pandemic numbers.

“We’re getting close to being back,” Hessinger said. “We’re actually one of the strongest routes nationally.”

And that doesn’t include trips between Albany and New York City or even Adirondack service to Montreal, which is set to resume on April 3rd.

“We’re still not back at full service, but we’re still at 90% of our numbers that we had in 2020- for our ridership,” he said. “So we’re very happy with that.”