On Monday, 6 November, US President Jow Biden announced the allocation of $16.4 billion (€15.35 billion) in new funding for 25 Amtrak, the US national passenger railroad company, passenger rail projects.
1. The Northeast Corridor
The funding is dedicated for the Northeast Corridor, which runs from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington, DC, and is the most heavily travelled rail corridor in the US, supporting 800,000 trips per day. Despite its importance, the Corridor still runs on infrastructure dating back to the early twentieth century, the President pointed out, which is why the funding will be used to rebuild tunnels and bridges; upgrade tracks, power systems, signals, stations and other infrastructure; and advance future projects to significantly improve travel times by increasing operating speeds and reducing delays.
Combined with Amtrak’s nearly $9 billion (€8.43 billion) fleet replacement program, which will replace over 1,000 locomotives and coaches with state-of-the art equipment, these investment’s goal is to ensure that train service is more convenient and climate-friendly than either driving or flying.
These grants will help advance Amtrak’s plans to modernize the Northeast Corridor and unlock major bottlenecks on the busiest passenger rail corridor in America.Joe Biden, President of the United Stated
2. Major awarded projects
Frederick Douglass Tunnel (Maryland) will receive $4.7 billion (€4.4 billion) to replace the 150-year-old Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel. The tunnel’s tight curvature and steep incline requires trains to reduce speeds to 30 mph (48 km/h), but after renovation, trains should be able to pass through the tunnel at 110 mph (177 km/h).
The Gateway Hudson River Tunnel (New York / New Jersey) will receive $3.8 billion (€3.56 billion) to rehabilitate and expand the Hudson River Tunnel between New York and New Jersey, which is over 100 years old, serves 200,000 passengers daily and was damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
Susquehanna River Bridge (Maryland) will receive $2.1 billion (€1.97 billion) to replace an existing 100-year-old rail bridge with two new two-track spans that will allow speeds to increase from 90 mph (145 km/h) to 125 mph (201 km/h) and improve reliability and trip times. As part of the replacement project, the existing movable bridge will be replaced with high-level fixed bridges, which will also improve navigation for boats on the Susquehanna River.
Penn Station Access (New York) will receive $1.6 billion (€1.5 billion) to repair and rehabilitate 19 miles (30 km) of the Amtrak-owned Hell Gate Line, including tracks, bridges and signals. The project will introduce Metro-North service to Penn Station, increase Amtrak service and the cut local transit travel time from the Bronx to Manhattan by as much as 50 minutes. In addition to reducing travel times, New York MTA’s investment will create four new fully ADA-accessible rail stations.
The Connecticut River Bridge (Connecticut) will receive $827 million (€775 million) to replace a 116-year-old bridge with a new modern movable bridge. Replacing the existing structure will increase reliability, safety and rail speeds on the bridge, which will increase from 45 mph (72 km/h) to 70 mph (113 km/h).