$83m grant for New England high speed rail projects

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced $82.7 million to improve high speed and intercity passenger rail in Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut and Vermont.

The dollars will provide needed upgrades to the Northeast Corridor, Connecticut’s New Haven – Springfield line, Maine’s Downeaster route and the Vermonter service.

“These are the kinds of investments that will improve reliability and on-time performance and attract more passengers,” said Secretary LaHood.

“We are creating jobs throughout New England, building our rails with American-made materials and growing the New England economy.”

$26.2 million will be used for the design and construction of an electrified third track parallel to the Northeast Corridor’s main line, and a new platform for the station in Kingston, RI.

The third track will permit faster trains to overtake slower trains, reducing congestion and improving on-time performance on the Northeast Corridor for Amtrak and commuter trains.

Throughout the Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C to Boston, $1.75 billion is being invested to improve service.

$3 million will be used for preliminary engineering and environmental reviews for American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant platforms at the Providence station on the Northeast Corridor.

The project also includes improved parking and pedestrian access, station repairs, potential reconfiguration of transit circulation and drop-off facilities, and future tunnel improvements.

$20.8 million is to be allocated to alleviate congestion and reduce delays on segments of Amtrak’s Downeaster service.

The project will provide critically needed double track, as well as signal and highway-rail grade crossing improvements between Wilmington and Ballardville, MA. Aging rail will be replaced with new, continuously-welded rail between Lawrence and Bradford, MA.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates commuter trains on this line, and on-time performance for the Downeaster has deteriorated due to bottlenecks within this area.

Currently, the Downeaster operates from Boston to Portland, ME, and is expanding to Brunswick, ME thanks to previous, federal grants totaling $38 million.

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.

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