Tri-State and 21 organizations from Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire have announced support for Connecticut’s application to use federal High Speed Rail funds for the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield corridor. In a letter, the groups called on the Federal Rail Administration, which will decide which rail projects to fund, to “move the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions into the 21st century” by funding the project. Applications for shovel-ready projects were due to FRA this past Monday.
The groups emphasized that the rail corridor would provide local, regional, and national benefits. Connecticut and Massachusetts would see job creation and congestion relief, and the project would help increase connectivity and transportation choice throughout the New England region and into Canada. New England’s governors have also endorsed the project as part of a regional high-speed rail plan.
Connecticut’s application requests a total of $64.2 million. Of this, $41 million would be used to double track 10 miles from Meriden to Newington and $9.3 million would be utilized for design and environmental permitting on the NHHS corridor. The remainder would be used on lines with existing commuter service — $13 million to design a signal system and upgrade train controls on the New Haven Line; $600,000 for double-tracking between New Haven and Milford and $300,000 for design and environmental planning for Shore Line East platforms and pedestrian track-crossings in Branford, Guilford, Madison, Clinton and Westbrook.
In February, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included $8 billion for high speed rail, and President Obama requested that an additional $1 billion a year until 2013 be dedicated to ten federally recognized high speed rail corridors and the Northeast Corridor. The FRA’s selections are anticipated to be made in September, with a second round of applications focusing on longer-term projects due in October.
New York, New Jersey Applications Target Bottlenecks
New York and New Jersey have also submitted high-speed rail applications that aim to fix the bottlenecks that are an impediment to better passenger rail service throughout the region.
New York requested $565 million for many projects including a second track between Schenectady and Rensselaer (a major bottleneck on the NYC-Buffalo Empire Corridor), partial construction of a third track for the Empire Corridor, and new signals on the Hudson Line between Poughkeepsie and Croton-Harmon.
New Jersey is seeking $38.5 million towards replacement of the Portal Bridge near Secaucus, a project that will ease capacity constraints on the Northeast Corridor and allow the state to recognize the full benefit of the Access to the Region’s Core rail tunnel.
Image: TSTC graphic.