A group of Northeastern U.S. senators last week urged Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to direct $2.4 billion of federal high-speed rail funds to the Northeast Corridor line after Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected them.
LaHood met with the senators last week to discuss additional funding for the rail line. The meeting follows a letter the group sent to the secretary on Feb. 28, requesting the funds that Florida denied.
Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor links Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and other cities along the way. The rail line serves more than 250 million passengers each year and offers high-speed rail service on the Acela Express.
“As train ridership in our region continues to grow, the Northeast Corridor has a unique opportunity to serve as a national model for high-speed rail transportation in America,” the senators said in a statement. “The Northeast Corridor is the best place to invest Florida’s rejected high-speed rail funding.”
Sen. Frank Lautenberg is leading the initiative. Joining him is fellow New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez, and other senators from New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Delaware.
Scott on Feb. 16 refused the $2.4 billion of federal funding for a high-speed rail line between Orlando and Tampa. The Republican governor said the project’s ridership and revenue estimates were overly optimistic and that the state needs to upgrade its ports, rail, and highway infrastructure.
LaHood’s office confirmed that he met with Lautenberg and the other senators last week, but had no further comment.