By way of an official press release from the White House, the Cascades corridor is expected to receive $598 million from HSR (high-speed rail) funds, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. President Obama will be on hand in Tampa (guess who’s cashing in?) today to make the announcement of grants toward thirteen major corridors, the Pacific Northwest being one of them:
Improvements will be made to the corridor using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to provide rail passengers in the Pacific Northwest with faster, more reliable and more frequent service.
Seattle – Portland: Two additional daily round trips will be added between Seattle and Portland, for a total six; travel time will be reduced by at least 5 percent; and on-time performance will increase substantially, from 62 to 88 percent. Major construction projects include building bypass tracks to allow for increased train frequency and multiple upgrades to existing track and signal systems. Several safety-related projects will also be funded, including grade separations, positive train control, and seismic retrofits to Seattle’s historic King Street Station.
Portland – Eugene: Investments include upgrading Portland’s Union Station, and engineering and environmental work for track and signaling projects that will increase service reliability and reduce congestion.
Along with WSDOT and ODOT, other regions/corridors that have also been earmarked for HSR funds include the Northeast Corridor, Florida, California, the Chicago hub network, and Ohio. The White House website has individual releases for each regional grant. The Infrastructurist had speculated that out of all the contenders, Texas would likely get the shaft, but Fort Worth is expected to receive just a tiny bit. We’ll bring you more as soon as we figure out exactly what projects our $598 million will go towards. [UPDATE 7:26am: Here is a full list (PDF) of the grants from the White House.]