January 28, 2010

CARDIN, MIKULSKI LAUD FEDERAL INVESTMENT IN HIGH-SPEED RAIL FOR MARYLAND

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD), announced today, with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, that Maryland has been awarded $69.4 million for high-speed rail projects that will create jobs and improve transit locally and along the northeastern corridor. The Baltimore-Washington surface transportation corridor is the busiest section of highways and railways in the county. 
 
"The major federal investment in passenger rail services announced today will help create jobs, spur economic opportunities, and make it easier for people to get around Maryland and the northeast region," said Senator Cardin. "These Recovery Act grants will help expand reliable high-speed rail service, which will ease traffic congestion on the highways between Baltimore and Washington and improve service reliability for Amtrak, MARC and freight trains. We'll use less energy, help our environment, and keep Maryland in the center of economic growth."
 
"This is exactly what stimulus money should be used for - to create jobs, keep people safe, and provide value for the taxpayer dollar," Senator Mikulski said. "This funding will help speed up upgrades to the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel and the BWI MARC/Amtrak Station. This investment today will pay dividends down the road, by keeping Marylanders safe and on the move, while reducing our reliance on automobiles."
 
Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the grants are part of an over $100 billion investment the Obama Administration is making to lay a new foundation for economic growth through innovation, science and technology. The two grants announced today are:
 
Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel Replacement - $60 million: The funding would provide engineering and studies to advance replacement of an 1870s-era passenger rail tunnel to improve safety and capacity on the main line linking Washington, D.C., and Baltimore with New York City and Boston.  The Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, located south of Baltimore's Penn Station, is used by Amtrak, MARC and Norfolk Southern.
 
BWI Station/Platform/Track Redevelopment - $9.4 million: The funding would provide engineering and studies to advance construction of a new rail station building as well as platforms and pedestrian access improvements to allow boarding on up to four tracks at the BWI Marshall Rail Station, versus the existing boarding now only on two tracks.  Funding also would advance a fourth track at the station and nine miles of track from Grove Interlocking to Winans Interlocking to help increase throughput and service reliability for intercity service.