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Springfield Rail Expansion Gets $30M

Staff Reports

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, left, and Vice President Joseph Biden on Amtrak, courtesy U.S. DOT.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The expansion of passenger rail from New Haven, Conn., to Springfield will get a $30 million boost, but it's far short of the $227 million Connecticut had applied for.

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday announced some $2 billion in high-speed rail grants, including $800 million for the Northeast. Nearly 100 projects in 24 states applied for funding.

Gov. Deval Patrick stated his commitment last year to the expansion of rail service to underserved Western Massachusetts. The $30 million granted by the federal goverment in this round will be used to complete double-track segments up to Springfield. The goal is to restore the line up the Pioneer Valley from Connecticut to Vermont.

The Downeaster, the popular line that runs from Maine to Boston, will get $20.8 million to construct a 10.4-mile section of double track between Wilmington and Andover.

The Springfield project is expected to cost $880 million to upgrade the 62 miles of track owned by Amtrak. Connecticut has committed $259.3 million in matching funds, reports the Connecticut Post.

Connecticut was one of a number of states, including Massachusetts and New York, that lobbied for a slice of the $2.4 billion in rail funds rejected by the state of Florida. New York's total is $361 million for various projects.

Amtrak also is getting $450 million for general improvements along the Boston-New York run. The bulk of the funds is going to the Northeast, not surprising since the densely traveled corridor accounts for more than half of Amtrak's ridership.

Read Transporation Secretary Ray LaHood's blog post on the awards here.

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