The Department of Transportation on Monday awarded more than $2 billion for 22 high-speed passenger rail project as part of a nationwide network that hopes to connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail in 25 years.
The Department of Transportation selected 15 states and Amtrak to receive the awards after receiving more than 100 applications. The projects are part of the Recovery Act and plan to:
- 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.
“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 Joe 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 Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who posted additional thoughts on the White House blog. “The investments we’re making today will help states across the country create jobs, spur economic development and boost manufacturing in their communities.”