Mass. officials hopeful billions in rail funding will advance state goals

Massachusetts officials believe the state will benefit from the slate of federal grants awarded this week to repair and modernize the busy rail corridor that runs from Boston to Washington D.C.

President Biden announced $16.4 billion will go to Amtrak and state partners along the Northeast Corridor for more than two dozen projects. The funds are from the Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Amtrak public relations specialist, Jen Flanagan, said the route “is the busiest passenger rail corridor in the country.” And that the grants Amtrak received is a “historic level of funding.”

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is among the agencies that work with Amtrak to provide service along the corridor.

MassDOT Rail and Transit administrator Meredith Slesinger said the investment will "improve reliability" across the corridor and "will make a big difference for travelers in Massachusetts" who sometimes experience service delays resulting from "aging assets."

While there aren’t any major Amtrak projects planned for Massachusetts, Slesinger said “improvements on this corridor will benefit the MassDOT-supported Inland Route, to make infrastructure improvements between Worcester and Springfield so that we can have service between Boston and Springfield and New Haven to then connect to New York.”

Projects further south along the corridor, like repairing the 150-year-old Frederick Douglass tunnel in Maryland, would address bottleneck issues that can create delays as far north as Massachusetts.

The Northeast Corridor is 457 miles long and serves about 800,000 people per day according to Amtrak, the primary owner of the route.

Projects across the corridor will take between "five and 15 years to complete," Flanagan said.

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Andrea Perdomo-Hernandez Transportation Reporter
Andrea Perdomo-Hernandez is a transportation reporter for WBUR.



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