Governor Patrick and members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation today announced more than $160 million in federal funding for rail expansion in the Commonwealth, including a $32.5 million grant to support the design phase of the Boston South Station expansion project. A design is seen at left.
Awarded through a competitive process, the Federal Railroad Administration High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail grant will fund the environmental permitting and design phase of the South Station expansion project, which includes constructing seven new tracks at South Station. The expansion will support a significant increase in Amtrak Acela Express High Speed Rail service to Boston along with planned MBTA commuter rail service expansion.
"We are committed to expanding commuter rail service and improving high-speed rail in the Commonwealth, and this successful grant application will put real designs behind a visionary plan to expand South Station," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Taken together with additional awards to further plans to connect western Massachusetts and Boston rail service to other New England states, this is an exceptional day for commuters, local economies and our state's long-term strength. I am grateful to our partners in the Obama Administration and the Congressional delegation for working with my team to deliver for Massachusetts time and time again."
The Patrick-Murray Administration and the Congressional delegation also celebrated today's award of $120 million to the Connecticut Department of Transportation for the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Corridor, including restoration of double track on the line to improve travel times, to serve western Massachusetts and provide a foundation for increased service between Boston and New York via Springfield and Worcester on the Inland Route.
Additionally, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation received a $2.24 million planning grant for the Capital Corridor between Boston and Concord, New Hampshire, a 73-mile rail corridor that would connect the two state capitols. Maine and the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority received a $600,000 planning grant for improvements to the Downeaster service between Boston and Portland, Maine. The South Station Project, New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Corridor, and the New Hampshire and Maine planning studies clearly indicate the hard work New England states are doing together to advance a regionwide vision for passenger rail.
Massachusetts and eleven other states from Maine to Virginia and the District of Columbia were also awarded a $10 million multi-state planning grant to study the role that intercity and high-speed passenger rail can play in helping improve the region's transportation network, expand capacity, relieve highway and aviation congestion and stimulate sustainable economic growth along the Northeast Corridor.
The South Station High Speed Rail Project will construct seven new station tracks, expanding South Station capacity from 13 to 20 tracks and reconfigure three critical track interlockings.
In the long term, the South Station project will provide for excess capacity to allow further service expansion beyond those currently planned for Amtrak and commuter rail. The project has received strong support from Amtrak and the U.S. Postal Service.
In July 2009, Governor Patrick and all New England Governors announced plans to work together on a coordinated regional vision for high speed rail that will connect major cities and airports, and support economic growth throughout the region. The Vision for the New England High Speed and Intercity Rail Network lays out key projects to strengthen passenger and freight rail service along new and existing rail corridors, with the goal of doubling passenger rail ridership in the Northeast by 2030.