Nearly $750 million will be invested to upgrade and speed up railroad travel between New York and Washington D.C., transit officials announced Monday.
The increased spending is part of an effort to improve rail travel nationwide, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. More than $2 billion is being divided among 15 states after Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected the money, which was to be used for high-speed train service between Tampa and Orlando.
“Americans want to get out of congestion. They want to get out of their cars,” LaHood said Monday. “High speed rail is coming to America.”
Amtrak will receive $450 million that will be used to upgrade equipment to improve reliability and increase travel speed up to 160 mph, up from 135 mph. Amtrak says it will also be able to double the number of round trips made from New York to Washington D.C. by 2022.
The MTA will also get nearly $300 million to build two extra tracks at a busy intersection in Queens where the MTA and Amtrak currently share tracks. Both agencies say the added tracks, to be used exclusively by Amtrak, will reduce congestion.