Maryland gets $22 million toward new Amtrak bridge
Maryland has been awarded $22 million in federal high-speed rail money for engineering and environmental work to replace the century-old Susquehanna River Bridge on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.
The money directed to Maryland comes from the $2 billion rejected by Florida Gov. Rick Scott for a high-speed rail project in that state. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the current Susquehanna bridge causes frequent delays because of the frequent need for critical maintenance work.
The $22 million is part of the $795 million redirected to the Northeast Corridor to increase the speed of travel on the line from Washington to Boston.
Some of the other projects on Maryland's wish list did not make the cut. After Scott ended his state's participation in the proposed high-speed line from Tampa to Orlando, Maryland applied for $450 million in federal grants toward projects including replacement of bridges over the Bush and Gunpowder rivers, a new station at BWI Marshall Airport and replacement of the B&P Tunnel leading into Baltimore's Penn Station.
In addition to the money Maryland will receive, the Federal Railroad Administration announced it would direct $450 million to Amtrak itself for improvements to the power, signal and track systems on the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak said that money would be used to improve a heavily used section of the corridor between Morrisville, Pa., and New Brunswick, N.J., as well as to overhaul track switches at New York's Penn Station.
Amtrak said the track, signal and power line improvements will let it increase the maximum speed of its Acela trains along the 24-mile segment of the corridor from Morrisville, across the Delaware River from Trenton, N.J., to New Brunswick, from 135 mph to 160 mph. The railroad said the project is part of a plan to add six New- York-Washington Acela round-trip trains to its schedule by 2018 and 15 by 2022.
In addition to Maryland, Rhode Island and New York were awarded money for improvements to the corridor. New York was allocated $295 million for a track project to alleviate delays in Manhattan, while Rhode island will receive $28 million for track and station improvements.
Other projects receiving large grants from the money Florida spurned were a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco and improvements to the corridor between Chicago and St. Louis.