Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is Senior Editor for Politics & Policy for WNYC News. She has previously served as Metro Editor, Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
US DOT Announces $2 Billion for High Speed Rail
Monday, May 09, 2011 - 10:10 AM
"U. S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $2 Billion for High-Speed Intercity Rail Projects to Grow Jobs, Boost U.S. Manufacturing and Transform Travel in America Unprecedented Investment in the Northeast Corridor, Expanded Service in the Midwest and New, State-of-the-Art Rail Equipment Top List of Rail Dollar Recipients
"WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $2 billion in high-speed rail awards providing an unprecedented investment 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 the Administration’s plan to transform travel in America.
"Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted nearly 100 applications, competing to be part of an historic investment that will create tens of thousands of jobs, improve mobility and stimulate American manufacturing.
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"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 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 Secretary LaHood. “The investments we’re making today will help states across the country create jobs, spur economic development and boost manufacturing in their communities.”
"Broadcast quality video and audio of Secretary LaHood discussing today's high-speed rail announcement is available for download via the following links:
"The Department’s Federal Railroad Administration selected 15 states and Amtrak to receive $2.02 billion for 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects as part of a nationwide network that will connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail in 25 years. The dedicated rail dollars will:
"• Make an unprecedented investment in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), with $795 million to upgrade some of the most heavily-used sections of the corridor. 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.
"• 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.
"Nearly 100 percent of the $2.02 billion announced today will go directly to construction of rail projects, bringing expanded and improved high-speed intercity passenger rail service to cities in all parts of the country. Thirty-two states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia are currently laying the foundation for high-speed rail corridors to link Americans with faster and more energy-efficient travel options.
"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) 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.
"A strict “Buy America” requirement for high-speed rail projects ensures that U.S. manufacturers and workers will receive the maximum economic benefits from this federal investment. 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.
"Rail project highlights include:
"NORTHEAST CORRIDOR (NEC)
Amtrak – NEC Power, Signal, Track, Catenary Improvements – $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.
"Maryland – NEC Bridge Replacement – $22 million for engineering and environmental work to replace the century-old Susquehanna River Bridge, which currently causes frequent delays for commuters due to the high volume of critical maintenance.
"New York – NEC Harold Interlocking Amtrak Bypass Routes – $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.
"Rhode Island – NEC Kingston Track, Platform Improvements – $25 million for design and construction of an additional 1.5 miles of third track in Kingston, RI, so high-speed trains operating at speeds up to 150-mph can pass trains on a high-volume section of the Northeast Corridor.
"Rhode Island – NEC Providence Station Improvements – $3 million for preliminary engineering and environmental work to renovate the Providence Station. These upgrades will enhance the passenger experience, keep the station in good working order and improve transit and pedestrian connectivity.
Connecticut – New Haven to Springfield Track Construction – $30 million to complete double-track segments on the corridor, bringing added intercity rail service to a route that plays an important role in the region, connecting communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts to the NEC, as well as Vermont.
"Massachusetts/Maine – Downeaster Track Improvements – $20.8 million to construct a 10.4-mile section of double track between Wilmington and Andover, MA. Track upgrades will increase schedule performance and dependability for passengers traveling on the Northern New England Downeaster corridor.
"New York – Empire Corridor Capacity Improvements – $58 million to construct upgrades to tracks, stations and signals, improving rail operations along the Empire Corridor. This includes replacement of the Schenectady Station and construction of a fourth station track at the Albany - Rensselaer Station, one of the corridor’s most significant bottlenecks.
"New York – Rochester Station and Track Improvements – $1.4 million for a preliminary engineering and environmental analysis for a new Rochester Intermodal Station on the Empire Corridor, connecting passengers with additional transit and pedestrian options.
"Pennsylvania – Keystone Corridor Interlocking Improvements – $40 million to rebuild an interlocking near Harrisburg on the Keystone Corridor, saving travelers time and improving passenger train schedule reliability.
"REGIONAL EQUIPMENT POOLS
Next Generation Passenger Rail Equipment Purchase – This state-of-the-art rail equipment will provide safe and reliable American-built vehicles for passenger travel, while boosting the U.S. manufacturing industry.
"• Midwest Corridors – $268.2 million to purchase 48 high-performance passenger rail cars and 7 quick-acceleration locomotives for 8 corridors in the Midwestern States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri.
"• California Corridors – $68 million to acquire 15 high-performance passenger rail cars and 4 quick-acceleration locomotives for the Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, and Capitol Corridors in California.
Illinois – Chicago - St. Louis Corridor – $186.3 million to construct upgrades on the Chicago - St. Louis Corridor between Dwight and Joliet, IL with trains operating at 110 mph for more than 220 miles of track. This investment will reduce trip times, enhance safety and add more seats on the corridor, increasing the number of people who can conveniently travel by train.
"Michigan – Kalamazoo-Dearborn Service Development – $196.5 million to rehabilitate track and signal systems, bringing trains up to speeds of 110 mph on a 235-mile section of the Chicago to Detroit corridor, reducing trip times by 30 minutes.
Michigan – Ann Arbor Station Project – $2.8 million for an engineering and environmental analysis to construct a new high-speed rail station in Ann Arbor, MI, that will better serve passengers and allow more than one train to serve the station simultaneously.
"Minnesota – Northern Lights Express – $5 million to complete engineering and environmental work for establishing the Northern Lights Express – a high-speed intercity passenger service – connecting Minneapolis to Duluth, with 110-mph high-speed rail service.
"Missouri – Merchant’s Bridge Replacement – $13.5 million to advance the design of a new bridge over the Mississippi River on the Chicago to St. Louis Corridor, replacing a bridge built in the 1890s.
North Carolina – Charlotte to Richmond Service Enhancement – $4 million for environmental analysis on the Richmond to Raleigh section of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor (SEHSR). This advances the goal of extending high-speed rail service on the NEC into the southeast, with 110-mph capable service.
"Texas – Dallas/Fort Worth to Houston Core Express Service – $15 million for engineering and environmental work to develop a high-speed rail corridor linking two of the largest metro areas in the U.S., Dallas/Fort Worth to Houston.
"CALIFORNIA AND NORTHWEST REGION
California – Central Valley Construction Project Extension – $300 million for a 20-mile extension along the Central Valley Corridor. This will continue to advance one of the highest priority projects in the nation that will ultimately provide 220 mph high-speed rail service from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The work funded in this round will extend the track and civil work from Fresno to the “Wye” junction, which will provide a connection to San Jose to the West and Merced to the North.
"Oregon – Eugene Station Stub Tracks – $1.5 million for analysis of overnight parking tracks for passenger trains on the southern end of the Pacific Northwest Corridor, adding new capacity for increased passenger and freight rail service.
"Washington – Port of Vancouver Grade Separation – $15 million to eliminate a congested intersection and bottleneck between freight and passenger tracks. By elevating one set of tracks over the other, travel along the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor will experience reduced delays and passenger trains will not have to wait for crossing freight traffic.