U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces More Than $300 Million for Passenger Rail Projects Across America
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced more than $300 million in obligated grants that will enable the expansion of high-speed intercity passenger rail corridors from coast-to-coast.
Work can now begin on innovative rail projects that will create new manufacturing and construction jobs, spur economic development in corridors and, in the long-term, develop a national transportation network with world-class railways.
“We have heard the call of the American people to build the safest, fastest and most efficient ways to move people and goods,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Thanks to the leadership of President Obama, communities across the country are already feeling the economic benefits of rail and today we take another step forward, bringing new jobs to our citizens. Through high-speed rail, we are helping America win the future.”
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has been working collaboratively with states to move grants from “award to obligation,” ensuring high-speed intercity passenger rail projects can get underway and put American people to work. The more than $300 million invested and released to states this week includes:
California Department of Transportation – Four projects totaling more than $22 million. A $13 million grant will refurbish 15 locomotives and upgrade engines to reduce emissions. An $8.2 million investment will go for several coach cars on the San Joaquin Corridor and Capitol Corridor. $950,000 will provide for preliminary engineering and environmental work on the Pacific Surfliner to Ortega. And $200,000 will provide for planning of the Pacific Surfliner route from San Diego to Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo.
Connecticut – A $40 million investment to upgrade the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail corridor will provide for 10 miles of double track to be installed on the Amtrak-owned, New Haven-Springfield corridor. This will help to decrease delays and improve travel time and reliability for both freight and passenger service along the corridor.
Maryland/Baltimore Tunnel – For one of the largest choke points in the Northeast Corridor, $60 million will fund a preliminary engineering and environmental analysis to study the replacement and augmentation of the 100-year old B&P Tunnel on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC). This would seek to eliminate a major bottleneck in performance and reliability for the NEC.
Missouri – Three projects totaling $3.8 million. A $500,000 grant to develop Missouri’s State Rail Plan, establishing priorities that enhance passenger and freight rail services. A $1.4 million investment will improve 13 highway-rail at-grade crossings between Sedalia and Kansas City. $1.9 million will provide for preliminary engineering and environmental analysis to design and construct a second main track from Lee’s Summit to Pleasant Hill delivering faster speeds and increased reliability.
New Jersey/Portal Bridge – This 100-year-old, bridge is one of the most heavily-traveled bridges in the country. $38.5 million will provide for the final design of the new bridge to alleviate delays to Northeast Corridor passenger service, increasing capacity and improving reliability.
Washington – A $145 million investment will fund rail corridor improvements and new equipment for the Cascades route from Vancouver to Blain . This will ultimately provide more frequent and efficient passenger rail service between Portland and Vancouver, B.C.
Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority – $600,000 will provide for a study to examine the feasibility of expanding the Downeaster line with increased service frequency, higher speeds, and reduced travel times. The study will also examine expanding the proposed service extension to Brunswick, ME, as well as Auburn, ME.
New York – A $3.3 million investment will add track and rail capacity in the congested Upstate New York area for Amtrak’s Adirondack and Ethan Allen Express services near the Village of Ballston Spa.
West Virginia –$1 million will create a State rail plan to establish strategies for rail services that benefit the public and businesses, while guiding priorities for the State’s investments in rail.
To date, approximately $5.7 billion dollars has been obligated throughout the country for rail projects funded by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act and annual appropriations. President Obama’s vision is to connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail within the next 25 years. This strategic investment is putting America on track towards that goal, providing rail access to new communities and improving the reliability, speed and frequency of existing lines.
A “Buy America” requirement for high-speed rail projects also ensures that U.S. manufacturers and workers will receive the maximum economic benefits from this federal investment. And, in 2009, Secretary LaHood secured a commitment from 30 foreign and domestic rail manufacturers to employ American workers and locate or expand their base of operations in the U.S. if they are selected for high-speed-rail contracts.