Vice President Joseph Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $2.02 billion in high-speed and intercity rail grants. The money will be distributed between 15 states and Amtrak for 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects. $450 million is specifically for Amtrak rail infrastructure improvements in the Northeast Corridor (NEC).
“This funding is an important first step on the way to a nationwide world class high-speed passenger rail system in the U.S. To complete this vision successfully, Congress needs to provide Amtrak with a dedicated long-term funding source,” said TCU President Bob Scardelletti.
“We are pleased with the speed and intelligence shown by the Federal Railroad Administration in redirecting Florida’s money” said National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) President & CEO Ross Capon. “Americans should be concerned, however, that this $2 billion in high-speed rail funds represents the last money appropriated for this popular, over-subscribed program. To meet the transportation and energy needs of our growing population, Congress needs to look ahead—and not in the rear-view mirror—when making funding decisions for next year’s budget.”
“With this investment by the Obama administration, the Amtrak vision for high-speed rail in the Northeast is now departing the station and heading down the tracks to help take America to the next generation of passenger service,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.
The funding for Amtrak will go toward the Gateway Project, which will construct new tunnels to access an expanded New York Penn Station, enhance regional economic development and job creation, and lay the foundation for the future launch of 220 mph next-generation high-speed service. Several states were awarded a total of $345 million for other NEC-specific projects.
The awards represent a redirection of $2 billion in federal funds rejected by Florida Governor Rick Scott, killing the Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail project. In a positive response to the governor’s unfortunate decision, 24 states—along with the District of Columbia and Amtrak—submitted nearly 100 applications for that money.
A full list of projects can be found here.
Click here to read the release from Amtrak.
Click here to read the release from the NARP.