Posted by: Providence Chamber of Commerce | May 9, 2011

Great News for RI/NE Rail System

Great news for Rhode Island’s rail system and for the Northeast corridor!

The state is getting $8 million in federal money for high-speed rail.  Rhode Island is one of 15 states to benefit from Florida’s governor return of $2.4 billion in high-speed rail funding.

The Northeast Corridor (NEC), which serves a string of cities from Washington, D.C. to Boston, also received $795 million to upgrade some of the most heavily used sections of the corridor. The investments will increase speeds from 135 to 160 miles per hour on critical segments, improve on-time performance and add more seats for passengers.

According to an announcement released by the US Department of Transportation this morning, specific Rhode Island projects that will be funded include:

 Kingston Track, Platform Improvements – $25 million for design and construction of an additional 1.5 miles of third track in Kingston, RI, so high-speed trains operating at speeds up to 150-mph can pass trains on a high-volume section of the Northeast Corridor.

Providence Station Improvements – $3 million for preliminary engineering and environmental work to renovate the Providence Station. These upgrades will enhance the passenger experience, keep the station in good working order and improve transit and pedestrian connectivity.

The Chamber’s Federal Affairs Committee had urged the Rhode Island delegation to apply for the funding and to support investment in the region’s aging rail system.  It’s estimated that roughly one-fifth of the nation’s gross domestic product is the result of economic activity in the Northeast region.

Future growth in this area depends on the ability to move people and goods quickly and reliably between the region’s urban centers. This funding will go a long way to advancing that growth.

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