After considerable effort and hard work by Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Michael P. Lewis, the Ocean State will receive $28 million of the redirected high-speed rail Recovery Act funds rejected by the State of Florida. Now on track for Rhode Island, these U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) dollars will increase speeds along the Northeast Corridor, increase on-time performance, and improve the stations themselves.
"I commend RIDOT's Director Lewis for his diligence and foresight in positioning Rhode Island to receive this improvement money," said Governor Lincoln D. Chafee. "Under his leadership, Rhode Island has made significant advancements that will improve our transportation in the future."
Of the $28 million, $25 million will go towards the design and construction of an additional 1.5 miles of track in Kingston that will enable high-speed Amtrak Acela trains, traveling at speeds of up to 150 mph, to bypass regional trains on this high-volume section of Northeast Corridor. Station platforms also will be raised up to the level of the station so that passengers will no longer have to step up or down to get into the trains at Kingston Station. This will give this station full ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility.
The remaining $3 million will go toward preliminary engineering and environmental work to renovate the Providence Station. Interior and exterior improvements will be made at this location.
Approximately 85 percent of the total $2 billion distributed nationally by the US DOT went to the Northeast Region. Of that, an unprecedented $795 million went into the Northeast Corridor mainline. It is expected that these funds will connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail within 25 years.