U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Designates Two New High-Speed Rail Corridors
Wednesday, October 11, 2000 (Washington, DC) U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today designated two new high-speed rail corridors in northern New England and the South Central states, and announced the extension of three existing designated corridors to serve Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.
The new high-speed rail corridors include a Northern New England Corridor with a hub at Boston that will ultimately serve destinations in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Montreal, Canada. The South Central Corridor will have Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas as its hub, and will serve destinations in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. Today’s designations are being made pursuant to Section 1103(c) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). Today’s designations bring to ten, the number of high-speed rail corridors in the U.S.
"President Clinton and Vice President Gore are committed to making high-speed rail a reality across the nation," said Secretary Slater. "I’m pleased to expand the market reach of the corridors that represent much of the future of rail passenger service in the United States,"
Extensions to existing designated high-speed rail corridors include:
*New routes from the Chicago hub corridor to Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio; a route from Indianapolis, Indiana to Louisville, Kentucky; and a route linking Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton-Springfield, and Cincinnati, Ohio.
*A new route between Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia linkng the Gulf Coast and Southeast Corridors; and a new route from Atlanta and Macon to Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida.
*A new route to Pittsburgh on the Keystone Corridor in Pennsylvania. The Secretary also noted that the Department’s previous designation of the California High-Speed Rail Corridor is intended to connect the state’s four largest metropolitan areas: the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego, and is not limited to a specific route.
"Today’s designations will bring us much closer to achieving our rail passenger transportation objectives for the 21st Century," said Federal Railroad Administrator Jolene Molitoris. "Taken together, the existing and new designated corridors will serve 85 percent of the population of America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas."
The formal designation of a High-Speed Rail Corridor makes those states with routes eligible for a portion of $5.25 million in dedicated annual Federal funding for highway-rail grade crossing hazard elimination funds for such routes. However, designation entails more than Federal funds. Designations continue to serve as catalysts for sustained State, local and public interest in corridor development. In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation and Amtrak, numerous corridor development efforts between state and local stakeholders are underway.
The designations apply to corridor regions, not just to specific routes because in some cases there are two or more existing alternate routes. The designations are intended to provide flexibility to each region before planning and financing commitments are made by key stakeholders.
The corridors designated to date cover 8,306 miles of track and could ultimately serve about 150 million people in 30 states.