$22m grant for Amtrak Susquehanna River Bridge on Northeast Corridor

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced $22 million for the Maryland Department of Transportation to complete preliminary engineering and environmental work for replacement and expansion of the Susquehanna River Bridge on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) that stretches from Boston, MA to Washington, DC.

“Coupled with previously appropriated NEC money totaling $1.75 billion, the Obama Administration’s historic investment in the Northeast Corridor will upgrade aging railways and drastically expand our transportation network’s capacity for high-speed rail,” said Secretary Ray LaHood.

“In doing so, these projects are creating thousands of good-paying jobs and using materials made in the USA.”

The 105 year-old Susquehanna River Bridge is a major rail chokepoint for passengers traveling along the NEC and requires significant and constant maintenance.

Replacement and expansion of the bridge is a key component to the region’s long term plans to drastically expand capacity, and improve reliability and on-time performance for high-speed and regional trains.

The NEC is Amtrak’s most heavily travelled route, servicing both the high-speed Acela and Northeast Regional services, and carried more than 10 million passengers in 2010 with an expected increase of approximately six percent in 2011.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the NEC received $449.94 million to upgrade electrical systems and tracks between Trenton, NJ and New York City, with an initial increase in top operating speeds up to 160 mph and future maximum speeds of 186 mph.

Another $294.78 million for New York’s Harold interlocking, will alleviate major delays for trains coming in and out of Manhattan with new routes that allow Amtrak trains to bypass the busiest passenger rail junction in the nation.

Thirty-two states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia are currently laying the foundation for high-speed rail corridors to link Americans with faster and more energy-efficient travel options.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and annual appropriations have provided $10.1 billion to put America on track towards providing new and expanded rail access to communities and improving the reliability, speed, and frequency of existing service.

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