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Friday, January 29, 2010

Amtrak to benefit from federal investment in high-speed rail

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The Amtrak national route network is a significant beneficiary of President Obama's historic federal investment in intercity passenger rail as approximately $4.5 billion of the $8 billion awarded in grants are for state projects that support improvements to current or future Amtrak routes.

"Amtrak is a major part of the future of intercity passenger rail in America," said President and CEO Joseph Boardman. "We are eager to work with our state partners to move these projects forward as quickly as possible."

The federal investments in state projects will mean higher speeds, reduced trip times, additional frequencies, improved facilities, and greater reliability for Amtrak services around the country, impacting at least 13 current Amtrak routes.

In addition, the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor, North America's only current high-speed route, with trains that operate at 150 mph every day, will benefit from nearly $500 million in state-led improvements funded by these grants. Coupled with the nearly $700 million Amtrak is currently investing in the NEC, Amtrak and the states are supporting the largest program of upgrades on the NEC in over a decade.

Further, these grants will help fund new services or service extensions that may be operated by Amtrak, including an extension of Amtrak's Downeaster Service to Brunswick, Maine, and the development of the Ohio "3-C" corridor, connecting Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

"Amtrak also applauds the Administration's decision to provide $3.5 billion in grants to California and Florida for the development of new, dedicated high speed rail systems," he said. "These new systems will showcase the tremendous value that intercity passenger rail service can bring to America's transportation system. We look forward to opportunities to work with those states on the development of these systems and the integration of these systems into the national network of intercity passenger trains."

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