May 9, 2011

Reed and Whitehouse: RI Wins $28 Million for High-Speed Rail that FL Turned Down

PROVIDENCE, RI – Florida’s loss is now officially Rhode Island’s $28 million gain. 

U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is redirecting $28 million in high-speed rail Recovery Act funds from Florida to the Ocean State after Florida’s Governor Rick Scott turned down about $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail funding. 

Senators Reed and Whitehouse say the money will be put to good use improving Rhode Island’s railways and spurring economic growth.

Back in February, Reed and Whitehouse wrote a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood requesting that Rhode Island be eligible to compete for the funds and making the case that the state would use the money to “improve high-speed rail service as well as increase commuter rail opportunities in the state.”

Rhode Island officials then applied for a total of $31 million in high-speed rail funding, including: $25 million to construct a third track at Kingston Station in South Kingstown and $3 million for engineering and environmental review funds to allow for future construction of Providence Station improvements.

Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who travelled around Rhode Island’s railways with Reed and Whitehouse last summer, announced that Rhode Island is being granted $28 million in federal funding for both projects.

“This is great news for Rhode Island.  The state is receiving an additional $28 million in new high-speed rail funding that will be put to work improving our infrastructure and expanding rail service to more Rhode Islanders.  Investing in high-speed rail will help boost economic development, reduce congestion on our roadways, and give Rhode Islanders more transportation opportunities.  Rhode Island is a key piece of the busy Northeast Corridor and  I commend Secretary LaHood for his leadership and efforts to improve our nation’s transportation infrastructure through wise federal investments,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee.

“With so many Rhode Islanders struggling to keep up with rising costs at the pump, high speed rail construction can provide many good-paying jobs, while strengthening our Northeast Rail Corridor to give Rhode Islanders new, convenient, environmentally sound transportation options,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee.  “This is an important investment in our state’s future.”


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