Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) today applauded the U.S. Department of Transportation's announcement of $26.5 million in additional funding to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) for high-speed passenger rail improvements on the Amtrak Carolinian Line between Rocky Mount, N.C. and Petersburg, V.A. Federal Rail Administrator Joseph C. Szabo joined state and local officials in Rocky Mount this morning to announce the funding.
"I commend USDOT and NCDOT for their commitment to improving transportation in northeastern North Carolina," Butterfield said. "Both Departments have been diligent in its efforts to bring high-speed rail to our state and move us into the modern era of transportation. Upgrading to high-speed rail across the state and country creates jobs and strengthens our economy."
The funds will be used to build new railroad track and ties, bridges, crossovers, and signals, and create more opportunities for freight and passenger trains to pass each other efficiently. The improvements will reduce delays and travel time, and improve safety for rail passengers, freight operators, and automobile traffic.
Congressman Butterfield voted in support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which brought $545 million in 2010 to North Carolina for high-speed rail and is expected to create or maintain 4,800 private sector jobs. Butterfield also voted in support of President Obama's request for high-speed rail funding, and helped NCDOT secure additional funding in 2011 for high-speed rail after several states declined ARRA funding.