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Vermonter The Patrick-Murray Administration announced the U.S. Department of Transportation has signed the agreements to award nearly $73 million for construction of the “Knowledge Corridor” along the Connecticut River rail line in western Massachusetts.  The Federal Railroad Administration grant is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  

The project will revitalize the existing Connecticut River rail line which runs from Connecticut, through Massachusetts to Vermont and restore Amtrak Vermonter service to the line, providing a more direct route, faster service and restored access to the cities of Northampton and Greenfield.  The project will create an estimated 367 jobs during construction.  The construction is expected to begin in summer 2011 with completion in late 2013.   

“This project highlights the successful partnership the Patrick-Murray Administration has formed with the New England states, the U.S. DOT, and Amtrak,” said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Jeff Mullan.  “The result will be improved commuter and freight rail service from border to border across western Massachusetts.”

In addition to the service at stations in Greenfield and Northampton, the Vermonter will continue to stop at Springfield Union station.  The improvements to the Knowledge Corridor will occur on the Connecticut River mainline of the Pan Am Southern railroad, a joint venture between Pan Am Railways and Norfolk Southern, and improving freight service for customers along the line and within western Massachusetts.

Governor Patrick and New England Governors are working 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.  The goal is to double passenger rail ridership in the Northeast by 2030.

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