USDOT’s Federal Railroad Administration recently announced $16 billion in investment in the Northeast Corridor, nearly $7 billion of which is slated for Maryland.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently announced it has awarded $16.4 billion for 25 passenger rail projects along the Northeast Corridor (NEC), a railroad line running between Boston and Washington, D.C. This particular line is one of the highest volume passenger rail corridors in the world and the busiest in the United States, with hundreds of thousands of daily riders. It also supports billions of dollars in annual economic activity, making it key to the national economy. Projects were selected through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program (Fed-State NEC).
This unprecedented rail investment will overhaul infrastructure that outdates 99% of all living Americans by replacing or upgrading 12 major bridges and tunnels that are over 100 years old. Such aged infrastructure causes delays and increased travel time for passengers. Addressing these major backlog projects and advancing planning studies will ensure future progress for an improved national rail network.
Taken together, these investments will upgrade tunnels, bridges, tracks, power systems, signals, stations, and more, allowing for increased speeds, reduced travel time, and a more reliable experience for riders. This means modernizing and strengthening a mode of transportation that produces fewer emissions compared to driving or flying. This announcement comes as demand for passenger rail continues to grow along the NEC, with this summer’s Amtrak ridership surpassing pre-pandemic numbers.
Investments in Maryland:
- Maryland – B&P Tunnel Replacement Program: Frederick Douglass Tunnel (Up to $4,707,571,556) The proposed project includes final design and construction of the Baltimore and Potomac tunnel replacement, to be known as the Frederick Douglass Tunnel. The project constructs a new two-track tunnel for passenger rail use, three ventilation facilities, and an approach track. The project also reconstructs associated railroad and roadway bridges in the project area and rebuilds the West Baltimore commuter station to accommodate the new railroad alignment and upgrade the station to fully accessible high-level platforms. Upon completion, speeds along this segment will increase from 30 mph to 110 mph, eliminating the slowest section of mainline track between Washington, D.C., and New York City. The tunnel is used by Amtrak’s intercity services and Maryland Area Regional Commuter Penn Line service.
- Maryland – Susquehanna River Bridge Replacement Program (Up to $2,081,215,100) The project includes final design and construction for two new fixed, two-track bridges over the Susquehanna River between Havre De Grace and Perryville, Maryland, replacing the current 117-year-old, two-track structure that is beyond its useful life. The new spans will improve upon the 90-mph speed on the current structure, with one span designed for 125-mph operation and the other for up to 160-mph operation, reducing travel time for thousands of daily passengers along the NEC. Amtrak’s intercity services, Maryland Area Regional Commuter service, and freight service use the crossing. The project will improve state of good repair and provide additional capacity to meet future growth. Amtrak and the State of Maryland will collectively provide $520 million in matching funds.
- Maryland – Baltimore Penn Station: Master Plan (Up to $108,320,000) The project includes project development, final design, and construction for investments at Baltimore Penn Station in Baltimore, MD. The scope includes renovations and restorations throughout the historic existing station headhouse, updates to utility systems, new Amtrak operations facilities, and construction of a new entrance, train hall, and waiting area. The project benefits customer experience and accessibility for Amtrak intercity passengers and MARC commuter passengers.
- Maryland – Gunpowder River Bridge Replacement Program (Up to $30,000,000) The project includes development activities to replace the 110-year-old, two-track Gunpowder River Bridge near Chase, MD, with a new four-track structure. In addition to replacing the existing structure, the project will replace, or upgrade associated signals, interlockings, and electric traction power infrastructure. The project benefits Amtrak’s intercity services, MARC Penn Line service, and freight operators.
- Maryland – Bush River Bridge Replacement Program (Up to $18,800,000) The project includes planning and project development to replace Maryland’s 110-year-old, two-track, movable Bush River Bridge in Harford County, MD, with high-level fixed structures with four tracks to include signal, interlocking, and electric traction upgrades. The project benefits Amtrak’s intercity services, MARC Penn Line service, and freight operators.