Delaware Delegation Highlights Federal Funding for Amtrak

WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. John Carney (all D-Del.) highlighted nearly $450 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to Amtrak for development towards a high-speed rail corridor and other construction projects along the Northeast Corridor (NEC).

This funding will upgrade overhead wires, power, track and signal systems on the NEC between Trenton and New Brunswick, NJ and will improve western approach tracks in New York Penn Station. The improvements funded by the Federal Railroad Administration, using money provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will position Amtrak to accomplish train speeds of 186 mph for 24 miles in New Jersey, the fastest speeds in North America, while making Amtrak Acela and Northeast Regional service more reliable. Commuter trains from New Jersey to Philadelphia and New York will also utilize the improved infrastructure.

“This federal funding for rail service along the Northeast Corridor is truly unprecedented,” said Sen. Carper. “These investments in our passenger rail system will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, cut harmful air emissions, ease traffic congestion and create jobs. As a near-daily rider of Amtrak, I know that the projects these grants will support will improve service and reliability up and down the Northeast Corridor. They will also help to lay the groundwork for future improvements, both in Delaware and other states, which will accelerate the Northeast Corridor’s continuing evolution as a true high speed rail option.”

“It’s been seven months since Florida’s governor turned his back on these funds, but I was glad that Amtrak and Delaware’s neighbors in the Northeast Corridor were able to take advantage,” said Sen. Coons. “What’s good for the Northeast Corridor is not only good for Delaware’s economy, but for the nation’s. I’m glad to see these funds are now on their way to these important projects.”

“Enhancing the nation’s busiest rail corridor is a strong investment that will strengthen the economy and make travel throughout the northeast easier for Delawareans,” said Congressman Carney. “Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor continues to generate profits while breaking annual ridership and revenue records. We must continue to improve service to ensure that the U.S. can accommodate increasing demand for reliable rail service.”

The $449,944,000 in funding is part of $795 million reassigned to the NEC from Florida. In February 2011, Sens. Carper, Coons and other Northeast Corridor senators wrote to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood to request that $2.4 billion in federal high speed rail funding rejected by Governor Rick Scott of Florida go to the NEC. The $795 million in funding will be used to upgrade some of the most heavily-used sections of the corridor. The investments will allow the top speed of trains on the corridor to increase on critical segments, improve on-time performance, and add more seats for passengers. Wilmington is the 12th busiest station on the NEC, with 1900 passenger a day. Amtrak employs 1,099 Delaware residents and Amtrak placed orders valued at $9,517,581 for goods and services in Delaware in Fiscal Year 2010.