State To Get $40 Million In Federal Funds For High-Speed Rail
January 27, 2010
HARTFORD — - Federal officials will announce today that Connecticut will get $40 million in federal funding for high-speed rail.
"This is a major investment in Connecticut's future," said Sen. Christopher Dodd, one of the chief proponents of upgrading the Amtrak line through the state. "After years of delay, the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line is finally getting the funding it needs to move forward."
The money will help pay to build a second set of tracks so trains can pass each other along the 62-mile route.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Florida today to announce stimulus grants for high-speed rail projects in 31 states. Connecticut's $40 million slice of the pie, however, is more like a sliver: The other states are expected to divide up the $8 billion pool for high-speed trains.
Florida, for instance, is expected to get between $1.4 billion and $2.5 billion for a high-speed rail line connecting Orlando and Tampa, the Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday evening.
The full cost of an electrified, double-track line from New Haven to Springfield is estimated at more than $800 million.
The plan is for Amtrak inter-city trains to run at up to 110 mph, sharing the route with commuter trains running at slower speeds.
The $40 million is "a good start," said House Speaker Chris Donovan, who pushed in December to get the state to commit $26 million for the project.
"That $26 million has already started showing a return," he said.
"It's an encouraging first step. We hope we can continue our momentum by qualifying for additional monies as soon as possible," said state Sen. Donald DeFronzo, co-chairman of the transportation committee.
Dodd has said the project will be a key to Connecticut's economic recovery.
"We're on a track towards better, faster, more reliable rail service connecting our state with New York, Massachusetts and the rest of the region," Dodd said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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