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AROUND THE STATE

$745 million to go toward rail projects

NEW YORK (AP) -- The federal Department of Transportation is putting $745 million toward rail projects that will allow trains to travel up to 160 mph in some sections of the Northeast Corridor and construction that will allow Amtrak trains to avoid a congested rail junction in Queens.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the funding Monday. About $450 million will be used to upgrade electrical systems and tracks between Trenton, N.J., and New York City. The upgrade means Acela Express trains will be able to get up to a top speed of 160 mph between Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J.

About $295 million will be used to construct a flyover at the Harold Interlocking rail junction in Queens. It will separate Amtrak from Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuter trains, easing congestion.

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Red-light cameras generate $53 million

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City's cameras that catch motorists who run red lights have generated nearly $53 million in fines last year.

According to the Daily News, Department of Transportation records show that more than 1 million summonses were issued in 2010 to unsuspecting drivers.

The $50 tickets and a photo that clearly shows the license plate and the car crossing the intersection are mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Red-light cameras were first installed in New York City in 2007. The city currently has 150 cameras citywide.

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Pataki may be looking to run for president

ALBANY (AP) -- Former New York Gov. George E. Pataki is taking a harder look at running for president, saying Democratic President Obama is faltering, and the Republican field is thinning. Spokesman David Catalfamo said Monday that several factors are in play as Pataki, 66, again considers a White House run.

Among them are what Pataki considers Obama's lack of a serious plan to deal with the nation's debt, and the Republican's own moderate views, including the support of abortion rights, that could attract independent voters in the important New Hampshire primary.

The three-term governor has been in private law practice since 2006 and would need to ramp up fundraising fast. His state account is dormant, with about $200, and his federal campaign account reports just $3,500.

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