NASTO members cheer rail upgrades
The members of the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials are gathering in Baltimore this week, and it’s difficult to imagine a more appropriate setting for US Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari.
After all, Deputy Secretary Porcari came to DOT after serving as Secretary of Transportation for the State of Maryland under two different governors. So, when he addressed NASTO 2012 today, he had a pretty good idea of what it’s like to sit where his audience was sitting. He understands like few others the important responsibilities of operating a state’s roads, transit, ports, and airports.
And, under the Obama Administration, we’ve made great strides for transportation systems around the country.
One area we’re particularly proud of is rail.
- We’re working to replace the 100-year-old “Portal” swing bridge in New Jersey, an improvement that will eliminate a critical rail bottleneck.
- In New York, we’re helping to fund improvements to the Harold Interlocking rail junction in Queens – America’s busiest passenger rail junction – which will eliminate congestion between intercity and commuter trains and allow for the growth of the high-speed service we’re developing. We’ve also invested in upgrades to the Empire Corridor.
- And last September, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation received funding to eliminate delays in and out of Harrisburg on Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor.
And that’s just a bit of what we’ve done. You can add to that list Massachusetts, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut–all states where DOT is helping build a foundation for improved rail service. And, after Amtrak purchases next-generation trains, passengers in the Northeast Corridor will travel at world-class speeds of more than 160 miles per hour.
This work is underway, and significant progress on some of these projects has already been made. From Maine to DC, it’s clear to NASTO members–just as it’s clear to transportation professionals in the Midwest and in California–high-speed rail is coming to America.
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