Governor Shumlin applauds new rail designation for high speed corridor

first_imgGovernor Peter Shumlin said today he’s pleased that the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) is designating the Northeast Corridor (NEC) as a ‘high speed rail corridor,’ a definition that allows NEC states to compete for federal rail funds.As Chair of the Transportation Committee for the Coalition of New England Governors (CONEG), Shumlin has been working with his counterparts across the region to advance the vision for a regional high speed rail network. ‘This is an important step for advancing the New England rail network. It will finally enable the Northeast Corridor to compete for federal rail dollars,’ Gov. Shumlin said. ‘Enhancing passenger rail investments throughout our region will benefit Vermont’s vision of a robust and vibrant passenger rail network connecting Vermont with New York, Boston, and Montreal.’ The Governor said rail investments throughout the region will continue to reduce travel times along the Amtrak route, increase mobility for Vermonters and improve energy efficiency across our region. ‘I am pleased to be working in concert with other New England Governors to make this vision a reality,’ he said.As part of the Northern New England network, Vermont is already eligible for such designated funds. However, the NEC is a linchpin in the broader regional rail network. With this decision, projects along the Northeast Corridor will now be able to compete on a’ level planning field’ for any current and future federal funds intended to improve and advance high speed rail corridors and service. Without this designation the NEC, including the congested Boston-to-Washington Corridor, would be ineligible to pursue these federal funds.The CONEG Governors recently wrote to USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood urging that all the northeast states be considered in the reallocation of any high speed-intercity passenger rail grant funds that might become available. Home to more than 20 percent of the nation’s population, the northeast states have worked cooperatively to advance projects needed to improve the current rail system, and develop joint plans and projects that contribute to the goal of high quality, expanded passenger rail service and significantly increased ridership.MONTPELIER — 3.15.2011last_img

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