The US Department of Transportation announced plans to spend nearly $745 million upgrading rail service along the Northeast Corridor – the most heavily-traveled passenger rail corridor in the nation.
$449.94 million is designated for improvements to the tracks and electrical systems between Trenton, NJ and New York City.
With these investments, Acela Express trains will be able to travel up to 160 mph (up from 135 mph today) along a 24-mile segment between Trenton and New Brunswick, NJ.
In the future, as Amtrak purchases new, next generation high-speed train sets, passengers will travel at world-class speeds of 186 mph along the improved track – faster than any passenger train currently operating in North America.
Another $294.78 million 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.
Improvements to the Harold Interlocking rail junction in Queens will eliminate congestion between intercity and commuter trains and allow for the future growth of high-speed service along the corridor.
A new flyover will separate Amtrak trains travelling between New York and Boston from Long Island Railroad and Metro-North commuter trains, and NJ Transit trains accessing Sunnyside Maintenance Yard in Queens.
"With gas prices on the rise and congestion clogging our roads, more and more Americans are choosing to travel by train," says Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo. "With our population expected to grow by 100 million more people between now and 2050, we are investing in a high-speed rail system that connects to other modes of transportation, reduces congestion and improves the efficiency and reliability of travel in America."
Both projects are expected to generate 12,000 jobs. Pre-construction work between Trenton and New York City will begin in late 2011, with initial construction commencing in 2012.
The projects include a strict "Buy America" requirement that will lead to the purchase of more than 100 miles of wire, hundreds of catenary poles, and a large volume of electrical transformers.
Construction on Harold Interlocking will begin in September 2012, creating 9,200 jobs over the length of the project, and include the procurement of new switches, miles of track, concrete ties, bridges, signal towers, catenary poles, and retaining walls.
32 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 (Stimulus Bill) and annual appropriations have provided $10.1 billion for expanded rail access. Of that, more than $7.3 billion has been obligated to date.