O'Malley adds specifics to request for rail funds
Gov. Martin O'Malley has fleshed out his previously announced bid for a chunk of the $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail funds spurned by Florida Gov. Rick Scott as Maryland made its formal application for more than $400 million of the money for two state projects.
O'Malley applied for $299 million for the final design and construction of a replacement station and improvements to the rail infrastructure at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The state is offering $41 million in match funds for the project, which would add a fourth track in the station area and build a new pedestrian bridge to serve all tracks. Maryland estimates the project would create 1,830 jobs.
The administration is also seeking $116 million for preliminary engineering and creation of an environmental impact statement for the replacement and expansion of three aging railroad bridges over the Bush, Gunpowder and Susquehanna rivers -- all built between 1906 and 1913 on the Amtrak Penn Line. The state estimates the initial phases of the project will result in 547 jobs.
According to the governor's office, the projects have the full support of Amtrak and other states along the Northeast Corridor.
Scott, Florida's incoming Republican governor, turned down the rail funds earlier this year when he pulled the plug on a proposed high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. The Obama administration has said it will transfer the money to rail projects in other states.