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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

USDOT issues maglev grants for projects in Pennsylvania, Georgia/Tennessee

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded grants to advance engineering and environmental work for two magnetic levitation (maglev) projects. The grants are being provided under the Federal Railroad Administration's Maglev Program, which was authorized through SAFETEA-LU.

The Pennsylvania High-Speed Maglev Project will receive $28 million to complete preliminary engineering, update the financial plan, conduct an independent cost analysis, perform studies for infrastructure placement and execute a bid for a bridge over the Monongahela River.

"This $28 million award is the most significant development in the 29 years we've been working on maglev," said Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) in a prepared statement.

The project calls for operating 250 mph trains between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, with an initial 54-mile phase connecting Pittsburgh International Airport with downtown Pittsburgh, the eastern suburbs at the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the city of Greensburg. Eventually, the line would be extended to Philadelphia, with stops in Johnstown/Altoona, State College, Harrisburg and Lancaster.

The USDOT also is awarding a $14.2 million grant to the Georgia and Tennessee DOTs to accelerate an Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed maglev system connecting Atlanta, and Chattanooga and Nashville, Tenn. The initial phase calls for building the system in a 116-mile corridor between Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Lovell Field and Chattanooga. A recent feasibility study determined the corridor could be extended to Nashville along the I-24 alignment. Trains could operate along the corridor at speeds up to 300 mph.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/11/2009