US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $2 billion in high-speed rail awards on Monday, providing an unprecedented investment to speed up trains in the Northeast Corridor, expand service in the Midwest and provide new, state-of-the-art locomotives and rail cars as part of the Administration’s plan to transform travel in America.
The FRA selected 15 states and Amtrak to receive $2.02 billion for 22 intercity passenger rail enhancement projects, nearly 100 percent of which will go directly to construction of rail projects, which must adhere to a strict “Buy America” requirement.
“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.”
The new investment will provide $404.1 million to improve passenger rail service in the Midwest; $795 million to upgrade some of the most heavily-used sections of the Northeast Corridor, increasing speeds from 135 to 160 miles per hour; $300 million for the nation’s first 220-mph high-speed rail system in California; $15 million to develop a passenger rail corridor linking Dallas/Fort Worth to Houston; and $336.2 million for state-of-the-art locomotives and rail cars for California and the Midwest.
Awards to projects in the Midwest include:
Illinois – Chicago-St. Louis Corridor: $186.3 million to construct upgrades between Dwight and Joliet.
Michigan – Kalamazoo-Dearborn Service: $196.5 million to rehabilitate track and signal systems, bringing trains up to speeds of 110 mph on a 235-mile section of the Chicago-Detroit corridor, reducing trip times by 30 minutes.
Michigan – Ann Arbor Station Project: $2.8 million for an engineering and environmental analysis to construct a new high-speed rail station in Ann Arbor.
Minnesota – Northern Lights Express: $5 million to complete engineering and environmental work for establishing the Northern Lights Express, a 110-mph high-speed intercity passenger service connecting Minneapolis and Duluth.
Missouri – Merchant’s Bridge Replacement: $13.5 million to advance the design of a new bridge over the Mississippi River on the Chicago-St. Louis Corridor, replacing a bridge built in the 1890s.
Next-Generation Equipment: $268.2 million to purchase 48 high-performance passenger rail cars and 7 quick-acceleration locomotives for 8 corridors in Midwestern states including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri.