Press Release

September 16, 2011
New bridge would make high-speed rail possible

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced that the Maryland Department of Transportation will receive $22 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to begin preliminary work on replacing the Susquehanna River Railroad Bridge on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC). 

“This is the best possible news for everyone living along Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.  “The Susquehanna Railroad Bridge has out lived its useful life and it needs to be replaced with a new bridge that can handle high-speed passenger trains. This is a critical project that will create jobs and provide important improvement to Amtrak’s infrastructure.”

On a personal note, Senator Cardin added: “Like anyone who travels by rail along the Northeast Corridor, I have experienced the slowdowns and rough ride across the Susquehanna Railroad Bridge that often leads to serious delays. It’s time this bridge be replaced with a newer structure that will facilitate faster travel.”

“Keeping America’s rail traffic on the move and on time means jobs, jobs, jobs in today’s tough economy,” Senator Mikulski said. “People need prompt trains to get to their meetings in other East Coast cities on time. Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor carries thousands of people a day, and the Susquehanna River Railroad Bridge is a major choke point for passenger trains along that route. Maryland and the entire East Coast will benefit from this important infrastructure improvement.”

This February, Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal money to help build high-speed rail between Tampa/St. Pete and Orlando.  In August, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that $745 million of the high-speed rail money Florida rejected will be “obligated” towards Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor. 

The Susquehanna River Railroad Bridge is 105 years old and is a serious bottleneck for passenger trains.  Its age requires constant maintenance, often leading to slowdowns. The highest use of the bridge is during weekdays, with approximately 100 Amtrak and MARC passenger trains crossing the bridge daily.