From the office of U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski:
MIKULSKI, CARDIN ANNOUNCE $22 MILLION TO REPLACE SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BRIDGE IN NORTHEAST RAIL CORRIDOR
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) today announced Maryland will receive $22 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to replace the Susquehanna River Bridge in Northeastern Maryland. The award is part of the DOT’s investment in high-speed rail to speed up trains in the Northeast Corridor.
Senator Mikulski led the Maryland delegation in writing a letter in April to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, urging him to support this project. Senator Mikulski is a member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee.
“Replacing this bridge will create jobs and help keep Marylanders on the move,” Senator Mikulski said. “As gas prices rise, our region needs to consider all transportation alternatives. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil is crucial to our national security. This grant will mean safer and faster commutes to work and school, better air quality, jobs today and jobs tomorrow.”
“This major federal investment for high-speed rail will keep Maryland in the center of economic growth, and keep America competitive in an increasingly globalized economy,” said Senator Cardin, who is a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “I’m very pleased that Secretary LaHood recognizes the important role that high-speed rail plays in reducing our dependency on foreign oil, saving commuters time and money, and creating jobs. This funding to replace the Susquehanna River Bridge ensures that the Northeast Corridor will lead the rest of the nation into the future of high-speed rail.”
The Amtrak Susquehanna River Bridge is more than 100 years old. It carries two tracks of the railroad’s Northeast Corridor line across the river between Havre de Grace and Perryville, Maryland.
The DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration selected 15 states and Amtrak to receive a total of $2.02 billion for 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects as part of a nationwide network that will connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail in 25 years.
To read the delegation’s letter to Secretary LaHood, visit: http://mikulski.senate.gov/media/pressrelease/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=11234
From the office of Gov. Martin O’Malley:
GOVERNOR O’MALLEY ANNOUNCES MARYLAND TO RECEIVE $22 MILLION FOR KEY PENN LINE BRIDGE OVER THE SUSQUEHANNA RIVER
Award of Rail Dollars Comes in Response to Aggressive Maryland Action After Florida Governor Says, “No Thanks” to Federal High Speed Rail Funding
ANNAPOLIS. MD (May 9, 2011) – Governor Martin O’Malley announced today that Maryland will receive $22 million in federal funding to begin the process of replacing a key bridge on the Penn Line that carries both Amtrak and MARC trains. The funding for the project became available when a new administration came into office in Florida and killed a high speed rail project, turning back more than $2 billion in federal money. The Obama Administration today revealed how it will reallocate those funds by awarding $2 billion to projects that will provide an unprecedented level of investment to speed up trains in the Northeast Corridor, expand service in the Midwest and provide new, state-of-the-art locomotives and rail cars. Maryland and Amtrak will use a share of that money to begin the replacement of the 105-year-old Penn Line bridge over the Susquehanna River.
“When Florida’s Governor turned his back on the federal high speed rail dollars, Maryland moved quickly to make our case to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood,” said Governor O’Malley. “We demonstrated that making improvements here in Maryland, at the heart of the busy Northeast corridor, will have a positive impact in our state and on the entire rail infrastructure that runs along the east coast. We applaud President Obama for his support of High Speed Rail and the Northeast Corridor in particular.”
The $22 million for Maryland will go toward preliminary engineering and environmental studies for a new bridge across the Susquehanna River between Perryville and Havre de Grace. The existing bridge, owned by Amtrak, was opened in 1906 and carries over 100 Amtrak, MARC and freight trains each weekday. Amtrak and MARC both forecast that the number of trains using the bridge will more than double in the next two decades.
The existing bridge creates both capacity and speed issues. Much of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor is either three or four tracks while the existing Susquehanna Bridge has only two tracks and a speed limit of 90 miles per hour. The new bridge will be designed to accommodate up to four tracks with an operating speed up to 200 mph. The additional capacity and higher speeds will allow the efficient operation of high-speed Amtrak trains at the same time as slower moving freight trains and MARC commuter trains.
This $22 million grant for preliminary engineering and environmental studies will result in the creation of 104 direct jobs in Maryland over the next three years. The actual cost to construct a replacement bridge has not been established but it is likely to cost over $800 million, based on preliminary estimates. Funding for construction must still be acquired in the future.
Maryland was aggressive in its attempt to seek a share of the Florida rail money. In addition to the Susquehanna bridge project, the State also applied for funding to begin engineering and environmental studies on two additional Penn Line bridges over the Bush and Gunpowder rivers in the northeastern part of the state. A request also was made for nearly $300 million to complete engineering and construction of improvements to the BWI Amtrak/MARC Station, also on the Penn Line.
“We welcome the federal dollars to begin the Susquehanna bridge project and we understand that there is more work to be done,” said Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley. “Obtaining the large amounts of funding needed for major projects is a process. We will continue to be aggressive in our pursuit of additional federal dollars for rail priorities that we believe will improve service herein Maryland and along the Northeast Corridor.”