Amtrak’s request for $1.3B in Federal HSR funding is facing competition from states across the country. Yesterday’s April 4 deadline to apply for Florida’s $2.4B in rejected HSR money saw submissions from California, New York, and Connecticut (and potentially others).
New York’s application includes funding for eight projects throughout the state. While the majority of the projects are focused on the Empire Corridor, two projects could have significant impacts on the NEC and trans-Hudson rail service:
- The final design of Moynihan Station Phase 2 ($49.8M). Phase 1, which is funded and broke ground, includes the construction of new train platforms underneath the planned station. Phase 2 includes the renovations of the Farley Post Office into a passenger hall above the tracks.
- Reconstruction of Harold Interlocking ($294M). Currently NEC trains en route to Penn Station must cross Long Island Rail Road tracks in Queens creating delays and congestion. The new interlocking would separate movements of the two operations to ensure reliability and improve travel time.
As detailed above, California’s application includes a request for $2.4B in funding.$1.44B will enable the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) to complete the “backbone” of the project, the 220MPH line from Bakserfield to Merced.
California has already benefited from the spate of HSR project cancelations. In December 2010, the Authority received $624M ofre-distributed funds from Ohio and Wisconsin’s canceled projects. In total, the state received nearly $4B in federal HSR funding in 2010 (including $2.35B from the initial round of Federal HSR grants in January, $194M in September, and additional $715M in October).
Likely Funding for Amtrak and the NEC
California’s success in securing federal grants is evidence of the state’s commitment to the project. And yet, as an increasing number of states are dropping their plans for HSR, the DOT cannot focus all of its investment on one state alone.
The DOT’s designation of the NEC as a HSR corridor just three weeks ago is a strong indication that the line will receive Federal support. Amtrak’s application is made stronger by the fact that the Portal Bridge project is shovel-ready and it enjoys the support of Governor Chris Christie. Overall, the NEC and California are the United States’ best opportunity for achieving successful HSR service. Both should receive some of Florida’s $2.4B.