Florida’s rejected rail funds given to northeast

Earlier this year, Florida rejected billions in federal grants for high speed rail projects a move which led Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood to reopen the application process for those funds. Yesterday, he announced that Florida’s money has been reallocated into several awards spread primarily throughout the Northeastern Corridor.

Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island all received large awards to expand already existing rail projects throughout the region. All of these states accepted awards in the first round of funding and will now have additional funds to add to their slate of projects.

Connecticut was awarded $30 million for the third phase of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) high-speed intercity passenger rail project. This project supports nearly 50 trains and an anticipated 1.26 million riders annually by 2030. The state expects to complete all design work on the project in 2013 and launch the new service in 2016.

New York accepted $517 million for a slate of projects including congestion relief on passenger rail into and out of Manhattan, capacity improvements, rail upgrades and construction of Rochester Intermodal Station on the Empire Corridor. Rhode Island accepted $28 million for a variety of projects including an additional 1.5 miles of track in Kingston that will enable high-speed Amtrak Acela trains, station and platform improvements.

Outside of the Northeast Corridor, Michigan and Minnesota were also awarded funds. Michigan accepted $200 million for improvements to the rail corridor between Dearborn and Kalamazoo. Ridership along this line increased to record levels in 2010 and continues to climb as 2011 progresses. Minnesota accepted $5 million for the Northern Lights Express rail service. The Northern Lights express will be a high-speed intercity passenger service connecting Minneapolis to Duluth with 110-mph high-speed rail service.

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