Today Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood announced $2B in intercity rail funding. This 3rd round of intercity rail grants – likely the last money to be available for quite some time – drew on funds rejected by Florida.
While perhaps the money was spread too thinly, many worthy projects received funding. Acela trains in central New Jersey will travel up to 160 mph by 2017, much more 110 mph track will be built on the Chicago-Detroit and Chicago-St Louis lines, and California will be able to extend its HSR starter segment to Fresno and the future wye where trains will alternately serve Sacramento and San Francisco. Good news all around.
Washington, however, fared poorly in this latest installment. WSDOT will receive $15 million for grade separation and congestion relief around the Port of Vancouver (WA), but will not receive the funds it had sought to combat mudslides and to replace the trestle leading into Tacoma Freighthouse Square. While disappointing, our total share of ‘HSR’ funding ($781 million) remains impressive relative to our population size, and it speaks well of WSDOT’s preparedness in seeking these grants over the past three years. Even if we lost out on this round, it is encouraging to see substantial federal investment in both the Northeast Corridor and California’s true HSR line.
As usual, The Transport Politic has an excellent summary.