LaHood Plans Major HSR Announcement at NY Penn

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is planning a major announcement on Monday at New York Penn Station. The fate of Florida’s rejected High-Speed Rail funding will finally be revealed, since LaHood told Transportation Nation that he planned to announce the grants’ re-distribution next week.

The location of the announcement can only mean good news for applications from Amtrak and/or New York State.  Amtrak has requested $1.3B for beginning the construction and design of HSR in the Northeast Corridor. NYS has requested $517M for numerous projects in the state, including the Moynihan Station Phase 2 Design and plans to fully separate Amtrak and LIRR operations in Queens.

Later that day, LaHood will be stopping at Detroit’s Amtrak station. According to The Detroit News, LaHood is expected to announce major funding for improved rail service in Michigan, supporting the lines between Detroit and Chicago and Detroit and Ann Arbor.  Michigan will join Illinois as two states from the midwest reaping the benefits of the demise of Florida’s HSR plans. After Ohio and Wisconsin returned their funding earlier this year, LaHood’s announcements return a piece of the federal investment to the midwest.

With strong federal support established in California and renewed investment in the Midwest increasingly apparent, it makes sense for the US DOT to make a major investment in the Northeast. Monday’s announcement from Penn Station makes the Gateway project a likely winner.

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One thought on “LaHood Plans Major HSR Announcement at NY Penn

  1. Wilton Woods says:

    I’m sure that a little something will go to the NEC, if for no other reason than Congresscritter Mica has been campaigning for true HSR here.

    Some projects look to have trickle down benefits that could have a wide effect. If they go with that crossover in the yards in Queens, it will benefit the LIRR as much as Amtrak when they separate their lines. The LIRR may soon need that extra efficiency when the East Side Access adds more trains into the city.

    Others could benefit from the joint bid to buy 100 new coaches for Midwest routes. As the new cars come into service Chicago-Milwaukee/Detroit/St Louis and St Louis-Kansas City, Amtrak will be able to put the old cars into service immediately — even taking the Cardinal daily! — as well as increasing capacity and/or frequency on other routes.

    That substitution won’t end Amtrak’s need for a 1,000 coach order of its own, but it sure seems like a good step while Congress dawdles on the Amtrak fleet renewal.

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