March 15, 2011
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has designated the Northeast Corridor as the final High-Speed Rail Corridor, making it eligible for significantly more federal funding for high speed and intercity passenger rail programs. Congressman Capuano requested this designation in July of 2009. Before today, the Northeast Corridor was not considered a "high-speed corridor" and was therefore ineligible for certain categories of existing federal funding. This official designation makes it much easier for the corridor to access $2.4 billion set aside for high-speed rail projects.
"I thank Secretary LaHood for recognizing that the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor is an important component of any transportation plan and should have access to all funds necessary for upkeep and expansion. Without this designation, the Northeast corridor was missing out on some significant funding", stated Congressman Capuano, a member of the House Committee on Transportation.
In making the request, Rep. Capuano wrote, "This corridor connects the five most populated cities on the east coast in a heavily congested area, stretching from Boston, MA to Washington, D.C. and is a critical link in President Obama's vision for a national high-speed rail network." The letter was also signed by 50 other House Members.
Many of the current high speed rail grants use an outdated definition of what constitutes a "high speed rail corridor". That definition is based on a 1991 law that identified rail corridors in need of grade crossing safety improvements as "high-speed rail". Because most grade crossings had already been eliminated on the Northeast Corridor, the 1991 law did not "designate" the corridor. The Secretary's designation today finally fixes this oversight.
In his letter Secretary LaHood wrote that "the designation as a High-Speed Rail corridor will provide new avenues for funding to improve railway infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor, which includes the most densely populated areas of the United States."
Congressman Capuano's letter to Secretary LaHood and his response are attached.
Contact: Alison M. Mills (Rep. Capuano) 617-621-6208