States get rail funding boost

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued funding awards to several states that will give a boost to rail and transportation infrastructure nationwide. The awards are the result of a merit based competition that required states to submit project action plans and compete against other states for a pool of money. Funding will go toward improvements and expansions of existing rail lines as well as for high speed rail projects. A round-up of where the money went is after the jump.

Massachusetts

Through its plan for the New England High Speed and Intercity Rail Network, Massachusetts will receive more than $160 million to expand their rail network. The award also includes $32.5 million to support the environmental permitting and design phase of the Boston South Station expansion project. The expansion will support expansions in the Amtrak Acela Express High Speed Rail service to Boston along with planned MBTA commuter rail service expansion.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation received a $2.24 million planning grant for the Capital Corridor between Boston and Concord, New Hampshire – a 73-mile rail corridor that would connect the two state capitols.

Connecticut

Connecticut will receive $120 million to support the long-planned New Haven-Hartford-Springfield, Massachusetts (NHHS) high-speed rail line project. The project will establish an intercity rail service between Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut to expand service through New England and eventually to Montreal. Some of the funding will also go to restoration of the existing double track line to improve travel time and prepare the lines for service expansion.

Iowa & Illinois

Iowa and Illinois will receive $230 million to initiate intercity passenger rail service on a route from Chicago to Iowa City via the Quad Cities. The 219.5-mile route will provide twice-daily, round-trip service. First-year ridership is expected to be around 246,800. The Illinois and Iowa departments of transportation submitted a joint application under the FRA’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program. The total cost of the project is $310 million and each state will be required to provide a prorated share of the required match, based on the share of investment in each state.

Massachusetts and eleven other states from Maine to Virginia were also awarded a $10 million multi-state planning grant to study the role that intercity and high-speed passenger rail can play in helping improve the region’s transportation network, expanding capacity, relieving highway and aviation congestion and stimulating sustainable economic growth along the Northeast Corridor. Outside of New England, California was given an additional $902 million toward its high speed rail project. The funds come as additions to funds awarded earlier this year.

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