Maryland Democratic Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski and several other members of Congress are asking federal transportation officials to redirect $2.4 billion in high-speed rail funds to projects on the Northeast Corridor.
“With its large population and high economic activity, the Northeast Corridor is well-positioned to lead the nation into the future of high-speed rail transportation,” the senators said in a statement.
The Northeast lawmakers say in a letter sent Monday to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood that the funds that are not being used by the state of Florida would be put to good use on rail projects between Boston and Washington.
The letter says 250 million rail passengers use the corridor each year and ridership is expected to increase 60 percent by the year 2030.
“Although the Northeast Corridor has the only operating high-speed train in the country, the Corridor has received less than two percent of the $10.5 billion provided by Congress for the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program to date,” the letter says. “We believe that this is an insufficient investment in the Northeast Corridor, given our region’s position as a population and economic mega-region.”
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley sent a similar request to LaHood last month.
In December, Massachusetts received $2.9 million in high-speed rail funds that were originally designated for Ohio and Wisconsin but were not used by either of those states. That money will be used for projects in western Massachusetts.