WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $2 billion in high-speed rail awards to speed up trains in the Northeast Corridor, expand service in the Midwest and provide new, state-of-the-art locomotives and rail cars as part of a plan to transform travel in America.
Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted nearly 100 applications, competing for the funding, which had been rejected by Florida in February. The Northeast Corridor will receive $795 million to upgrade some of its most heavily-used sections. The investments will increase speeds from 135 to 160 miles per hour on critical segments, improve on-time performance and add more seats for passengers.
“Earlier this year, President Obama and I made a commitment to improve and expand America’s transportation system, including the development of a modern, national high-speed rail network,” said Vice President Joseph Biden. “And today, we’re announcing investments that will continue our progress toward making this vision a reality. These projects will put thousands of Americans to work, save hundreds of thousands of hours for American travelers every year, and boost U.S. manufacturing by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in next-generation, American-made locomotives and railcars.”
“President Obama and Vice President Biden’s vision for a national rail system will help ensure America is equipped to win the future with the fastest, safest and most efficient transportation network in the world,” said LaHood. “The investments we’re making today will help states across the country create jobs, spur economic development and boost manufacturing in their communities.”
Amtrak will receive $450 million to boost capacity, reliability, and speed in one of the most heavily-traveled sections of the Northeast Corridor, creating a 24-mile segment of track capable of supporting train speeds up to 160-mph.
New York will receive $295 million to alleviate major delays for trains coming in and out of Manhattan with new routes that allow Amtrak trains to bypass the busiest passenger rail junction in the nation.
The awards will also:
• Provide $404.1 million to expand high-speed rail service in the Midwest. Newly constructed segments of 110-mph track between Detroit and Chicago will save passengers 30 minutes in travel time and create nearly 1,000 new jobs in the construction phase. Upgrades to the Chicago to St. Louis corridor will shave time off the trip, enhance safety and improve ridership.
• Boost U.S. manufacturing through a $336.2 million investment in state-of-the-art locomotives and rail cars for California and the Midwest. “Next Generation” rail equipment will deliver safe, reliable and high-tech American-built vehicles for passenger travel.
• Continue laying the groundwork for the nation’s first 220-mph high-speed rail system in California through a $300 million investment, extending the current 110 mile segment an additional 20 miles to advance completion of the Central Valley project, the backbone of the Los Angeles to San Francisco corridor.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and annual appropriations have, to date, provided $10.1 billion to put America on track towards providing rail access to new communities and improving the reliability, speed and frequency of existing lines. Of that, approximately $5.8 billion dollars has already been obligated for rail projects.
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