RI gets $28M in high-speed rail money
As originally appearing in Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island will get $28 million in federal money to benefit high-speed train service, becoming one of 15 states sharing in $2 billion turned down by Florida’s governor for a rail project there.

The money awarded to the Rhode Island projects is part of nearly $800 million of the money being used for upgrades in the Northeast Corridor, which were announced Monday by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The federal transportation chief said the money will help pay for improvements that will increase train speeds from 135 mph to 160 mph on critical segments of the heavily traveled corridor.

The award in Rhode Island includes $25 million to add a third track at the station in South Kingstown, as well as $3 million to plan improvements at the station in Providence, U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse said. The state had also requested $3 million for planning at a newly opened station at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, but that money was not approved.

“Investing in high-speed rail will help boost economic development, reduce congestion on our roadways, and give Rhode Islanders more transportation opportunities,” Reed said.

Whitehouse called it “an important investment in our state’s future,” and said it would bring good-paying jobs to the state.

That sentiment was echoed by James T. Brett, chief executive of The New England Council, a non-partisan alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and other organizations.

The projects approved in Rhode Island and neighboring states would create thousands of manufacturing and construction jobs in addition to better connecting the region’s economic centers, Brett said.

Connecticut received $30 million for a high-speed rail project between New Haven and Springfield, Mass., although the amount falls far short of the $227 million state leaders were seeking.

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