December 13, 2011
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has awarded $7 million to Georgia and Washington D.C. to continue work on the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor linking Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C. to Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“With America’s population set to grow by 100 million over the next 40 years, high-speed rail will play a vital role in reducing congestion and meeting America’s long-term transportation challenges,” LaHood said in a written statement. “High speed rail projects like these in Georgia, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C., will employ local workers, use American-made materials and lay a strong foundation for future economic growth.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) received a $4.1 million grant to complete a service development plan and environmental study for the 250 mile passenger rail corridor between Atlanta and Charlotte.
GDOT is contributing $1.125 million for this phase of the project. GDOT recently announced a new Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal in downtown Atlanta, which is being designed to accommodate high-speed rail service.
The District of Columbia Department of Transportation received $2.9 million to evaluate alternatives for rehabilitation or replacement of the Long Bridge over the Potomac River. The bridge, more than 100 years old, is the sole railroad bridge between Virginia and Washington, carrying nearly 90 passenger and freight trains daily. Rail service over the Long Bridge is expected to grow to nearly150 trains per day in the next twenty years. CSX, the company that owns the bridge, will contribute $100,000 to the study.
States in the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor have received nearly $581 million to develop high-speed rail service in the region.
Most recently, Virginia received $44.3 million for environmental analysis and preliminary engineering for the segment between Washington and Richmond. North Carolina received $4 million for environmental and design work for the construction of a new connection between Raleigh and Richmond that could reduce travel time by one hour and 30 minutes from the current schedule.
Thirty-two states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia are currently laying the foundation for high-speed rail corridors that will link Americans with faster and more energy-efficient travel options. To date, the U.S. Department of Transportation has invested $10.1 billion to put American communities on track towards new and expanded rail access and improved reliability, speed, and frequency of existing service.