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Six governors team up to pursue a high-speed rail system in New England

New England state governors recently announced they’re teaming up to develop a coordinated vision for a regional high-speed rail (HSR) system that would link major Northeast cities and airports.

The six governors aim to strengthen both passenger- and freight-rail service along new and existing rail corridors, and double passenger-rail ridership in the Northeast by 2030.

“The best way to develop and expand important high-speed and intercity rail systems to their greatest potential is by working in close coordination with our New England neighbors,” said Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas in a prepared statement. “Establishing affordable, convenient and well-coordinated rail connections throughout the entire Northeast is a prerequisite to ensuring our region’s future economic and environmental well-being.”

Department of transportation heads in each state will meet regularly with New England’s Congressional delegation to advance rail initiatives and coordinate applications for HSR grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as pursue other federal funding.

On Friday, the six states submitted pre-applications to the Federal Railroad Administration as part of the competitive grant process. In August, the governors plan to meet at a Vermont HSR summit to continue pursuing a New England system.

The system would include six key HSR components:
• Downeaster service between Boston and Portland, Maine;
• the Capital Corridor through Boston and Concord, Manchester and Nashua, N.H.;
• the Western Corridor through Burlington, Rutland and Bennington, Vermont, and through New York City and Albany, N.Y., via the Empire Corridor;
• a restored Vermonter route through western Massachusetts via the Knowledge Corridor;
• new double track and bridge replacements on the Springfield Line serving New Haven, Hartford and Springfield, Conn.; and
• a new rail connection between Providence and Boston to TF Green Airport in Rhode Island via the Northeast Corridor.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/14/2009