Effort to get more high speed rail funding for the Northeast Corridor

    Delaware Congressman Mike Castle introduces legislation designed to get more federal funding for improvements to high speed rail from Washington to Boston.

    Even though the railroad tracks that run through the Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston carry more than 15 million passengers every year, the corridor is not eligible for high speed rail funding that other areas are eligible for.

    The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) of 2008 provides funding for improvements to high speed rail roads in officially designated corridors, but unfortunately for the Northeast Corridor, it has not been official designated as a “high speed” corridor.

    Delaware’s Congressman Castle (R) is introducing legislation that’s designed to designate the Northeast Corridor as “high speed.”  “Not being included in this PRIIA has been a bit of a problem for us in terms of obtaining funding which is necessary for high speed rail for this extremely  important corridor.”  Castle says if the corridor could get a high speed designation and receive funding, improvements to the line could be made to make train travel in the region even quicker.  He says the train’s speed is being hindered, “Because of rail circumstances and tunnels and bridges, etc.,  they can’t go at anyhwere near the speeds at which the trains themselves are equipped to go.”

    The decision not to give the corridor “high speed rail” status surprised transportation planners including executive director of the Transportation Management Association of Delaware Bill Osbourne.  He says the Northeast Corridor needs to be eligible for improvement funding, “Let us compete on an equal and fair footing, we’re not looking for an earmark.  We want to get in there and show that this is a vital link to the prosperity of the country, and when you look at rail congestion, this corridor is where it’s at.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.