Bridge replacement, track upgrades, new railcars and station renovations are all on tap as part of a new $2.2 billion federal investment in high-speed rail.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the awards Monday (May 9), calling the package “an unprecedented investment” in high-speed rail “as part of the Administration’s plan to transform travel in America.”
The grants will focus on speeding up trains in the Northeast Corridor, expanding service in the Midwest, and providing new locomotives and rail cars. DOT received more than 100 applications for rail money from 24 states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak.
“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.”
Tightening the National Network
DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration has selected 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects to receive the $2.02 billion as part of a nationwide network that will connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail in 25 years.
Nearly 100 percent of the money will go directly to construction of rail projects. These include:
• Investing a record $795 million in the Northeast Corridor to upgrade some of the most heavily traveled sections. The program will increase speeds from 135 to 160 miles per hour on critical segments, improve on-time performance, and add seats for passengers, DOT said.
• Provide $404.1 million to expand high-speed rail service in the Midwest. New segments of 110-mph track between Detroit and Chicago will cut travel time by 30 minutes and create nearly 1,000 new jobs during construction, while upgrades to the Chicago-St. Louis corridor will reduce travel time, enhance safety and improve ridership, according to DOT.
• Invest $336.2 million in new locomotives and rail cars for California and the Midwest, in order to boost manufacturing and make passenger travel safer.
• Spend $300 million to extend the current 110-mile Los Angeles-San Francisco Central Valley segment by 20 miles. The segment will be part of the nation’s first 220-mph rail corridor—one of DOT’s highest-priority rail projects.
The DOT rail awards are tied to a strict “Buy American” requirement, DOT says. In 2009, 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:
Amtrak: $450 million to create a 24-mile segment of track capable of supporting train speeds up to 160 mph in one of the corridor’s most heavily traveled sections.
Maryland: $22 million for engineering and environmental work to replace the century-old Susquehanna River Bridge.
|Maryland’s Susquehanna River Bridge will be replaced as part of the new rail aid package.|
New York: $295 million for new routes that will allow Amtrak trains to bypass Manhattan, the nation’s busiest passenger rail junction.
Rhode Island: $25 million for an additional 1.5 miles of third track in Kingston, RI, to allow passing of trains on a high-volume section of the corridor.
Rhode Island: $3 million for preliminary engineering and environmental work to renovate the Providence Station.
Connecticut: $30 million to complete double-track segments on the corridor, connecting communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.
Massachusetts/Maine: $20.8 million to construct a 10.4-mile section of double track between Wilmington and Andover, MA.
New York: $58 million to upgrade tracks, stations and signals along the Empire Corridor, including replacing the Schenectady Station.
New York: $1.4 million for a preliminary engineering and environmental analysis for a new Rochester Intermodal Station.
Pennsylvania: $40 million to rebuild an interlocking near Harrisburg on the Keystone Corridor.
Regional Equipment Pools
California: $68 million for 15 high-performance passenger rail cars and four quick-acceleration locomotives for three corridors.
Midwest: $268.2 million to purchase 48 high-performance passenger rail cars and seven quick-acceleration locomotives for eight corridors.
Illinois: $186.3 million for upgrades on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor.
Michigan: $196.5 million to rehabilitate track and signal systems on the Chicago-Detroit corridor.
Michigan: $2.8 million for engineering and environmental analysis to build a new high-speed rail station in Ann Arbor.
Minnesota: $5 million to complete engineering and environmental work for the Northern Lights Express connecting Minneapolis and Duluth.
Missouri: $13.5 million for design work on a replacement for a bridge built in the 1890s.
North Carolina: $4 million for environmental analysis on the Richmond-Raleigh section of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor.
Texas: $15 million for engineering and environmental work to develop a high-speed rail corridor linking Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston.
California / Northwest
California: $300 million for a 20-mile extension along the Central Valley Corridor, advancing high-speed service from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Oregon: $1.5 million for analysis of overnight parking tracks for passenger trains on the southern end of the Pacific Northwest Corridor.
Washington: $15 million to elevate one set of tracks over the other, relieving congestion for freight and passenger trains.