The National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
Destination:Freedom

A Weekly North American Transportation Update

For transportation advocates and professionals, journalists,
and elected or appointed officials at all levels of government

Publisher: James P. RePass      E-Zine Editor: Molly McKay
Foreign Editor: David Beale      Webmaster: Dennis Kirkpatrick

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January 28, 2010
Vol. 11 No. 5 - EXTRA

Copyright © 2010
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 11th Newsletter Year

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IN THIS EDITION...   In This Edition...

  News Items…
 
Obama Rail Stimulus Up And Running:
   Now The Hard Work Really Begins
 
Special Amtrak Advisory On Rail Stimulus Funds
 
  Additional Press Links …
 
Extra Edition - Obama Rail Stimulus
 
  Events…
 
Urban Pathways To Liveable Communities


NEWS OF THE WEEK... News Items...

Statement By James P. Repass
President & CEO, The National Corridors Initiative

 

Obama Rail Stimulus Up And Running:
Now The Hard Work Really Begins

Twenty-one years ago this April, the National Corridors Initiative was founded to advocate for investment in passenger rail in the United States.

Today, January 28, 2010, we celebrate along with millions of Americans the launching of the construction phase of President Barack Obama’s $8 billion-plus stimulus program for intercity rail, which the President has repeatedly described as a down payment on what is to come.

It is significant that in this politically contentious era, in a Washington where civility itself seems to belong on the Endangered Species list, a program with such broad bi-partisan support should emerge, at a time when we sorely need goals and objectives that can inspire and unite all Americans.

While many in the advocacy community will point out that $8 billion is just a fraction of what the People’s Republic of China, or France, or Spain, is spending each year on high speed intercity rail, we need to also remember that this is $8 billion more than we had before. Add in the additional Amtrak projects and the growing state financial support for rail, and suddenly more than $10 billion is being pumped into a jobs-creating program that is the kind of stimulus we need: unlike programs that give Americans money to go a buy yet another electronic device made off shore, this program will produce an asset that sticks around, enables commerce, and will build still more jobs on top of those used for construction and operation.

The web is filled with news today about this announcement, and we have included in this Extra Edition of Destination:Freedom a list of URLs connecting to as many of those articles and commentaries we can find; there will be more in our regular issue February 1.

In the meantime, though, thanks not only to President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden --- a long time rail advocate who has helped greatly in the cause over the past two decades --- but also, and especially, to the incredible staff at the Federal Railroad Administration --- Administrator Joe Szabo, Deputies Karen Rae and Mark Yachmetz, and others --- who worked inhuman hours since the rail program was first announced in January of last year to get this program up and running.

Now, let’s get to work on Stimulus I --- and begin the planning for Stimulus II. All that is at stake, is America’s future.

For information on each of the ARRA projects go to:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-and-releases


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Special Amtrak Advisory
On Rail Stimulus Funds

January 28, 2010

Intercity and High-Speed Rail Grants Announced Today

President Obama and other administration officials were in various parts of the country today to announce nearly $8 billion in grant awards as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The awards are intended to lay the groundwork in developing 13 new, large-scale high-speed rail corridors across the country.

The grants are part of the president’s strategic long-term plan to build and sustain a comprehensive passenger rail program in the U.S. Nearly 60 percent of the $8 billion in funding will be invested by states in routes and services that are part of the current and future Amtrak system.

At 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, President and CEO Joe Boardman joined FRA Administrator Joe Szabo, Pennsylvania Deputy Transportation Secretary Toby Fauver and Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Marie to announce $485 million in passenger rail grants for the region, including $112 million on the Northeast Corridor.

Coupled with Amtrak’s $700 million in capital investments, the [Northeast Corridor] NEC will benefit from its largest program of upgrades in a decade.

Additionally, Szabo will travel to Chicago tomorrow where he will appear with Amtrak Chairman Tom Carper to discuss the $2.2 billion in grant awards for that region.

“These investments will result in higher operating speeds, reduced trip times, additional frequencies, improved facilities and greater reliability for at least 13 routes across our system,” said Boardman, “As I’ve said over and over, we have historic opportunities in front of us that we can only achieve by working together.”

Boardman also pointed out that funding will result in new services or service extensions, including an extension of Downeaster service to Brunswick, Maine, and development of the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati corridor in Ohio.

As mentioned during his State of the Union address last night, President Obama traveled with Vice President Biden to Florida to announce that $1.25 billion will go to the state to develop a dedicated high-speed rail line connecting Orlando and Tampa. California will receive $2.25 billion for its own dedicated high-speed corridor.

Obama and Biden’s remarks focused on the many benefits of rail development including job creation, connectivity, economic development and energy efficiency.

“The awards to Florida and California are very exciting and we look forward to opportunities to work with those states on developing those systems,” said Boardman.

Projects to be funded by ARRA grants include station renovations, track improvements, right-of-way acquisition, and corridor planning. Investments will be made in a total of 31 states.

More details and the full list of grants for intercity passenger rail can be found online at http://www.whitehouse.gov under “Briefing Room” and “Statements and Releases.”


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ADDITIONAL PRESS LINKS... Additional Press Links...  

Here are some additional Press links in no specific order.
Additional coverage and commentary will be presented in our February 1 edition.
Webmaster.

 

From the White House
http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/100128_1400-HSRAwards-Summary_FRA%20Revisions.pdf

 

There is also an Ohio-specific document easily found on the White House web site.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/fact-sheet-high-speed-intercity-passenger-rail-program-cleveland-columbus

 

And here is the relevant paragraph from their State of the Union blog entry.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/01/27/putting-washington-service-middle-class

 

Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/28/white-house-plans-8-billi_n_440106.html

 

Columbus Dispatch, Ohio
http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/01/27/ohio-high-speed-rail-money.html?sid=101

 

From The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO

President Obama’s High Speed Rail Plan Boosts Jobs, Expands Nation’s Transportation System
January 28, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC - Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), offers the following statement regarding the Obama Administration’s upcoming high speed rail announcements:

“A new day in rail travel in America has arrived. With the anticipated announcement of high and higher speed rail grant awards, transportation workers around the country look forward to contributing to the success of the President’s vision.

For more information, visit www.ttd.org.

 

Chicago Sun-Times (blog)
http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2010/01/chicago-st_louis_high_speed_ra.html

 

Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/01/28/new_england_rail_corridor_in_line_for_160m_in_us_funds/

 

Pennsylvania High-Speed Rail Corridors
WHP - CBS 21
http://www.whptv.com/news/local/story/PA-High-Speed-Rail-Corridors/IXCJoV_8r0y7Fa1AHqqJug.cspx

 

The Olympian, Washington State
http://www.theolympian.com/stategovernment/story/1117823.html

 

Washington Examiner
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/ap/nc-to-get-520m-to-upgrade-rail-corridor-82864542.html

 

WBAY - Wisconsin to Receive $822 Million for High Speed Rail
http://www.wbay.com/Global/story.asp?S=11893651

 

Barre Montpelier Times Argus, Vermont
State nets $50 million to rail system
http://www.timesargus.com/article/20100128/NEWS01/1280353


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EVENTS... Events...

 

Urban Pathways To
Liveable Communities

Building Partnerships For
Healthy Neighborhoods

Feb. 25 & 26, 2010
New Orleans, LA

 

Click Here For
More Information

 

Day #1 attendees are invitation-only and must request an invitation from Rails-to-Trails on their website. See link immediately above.

Day #2 attendees should register with NCI
(name, title, affiliation, address, phone, email)
and mail a check for $90.00 to:

NCI Connecticut Office
c/o M. McKay
8 Riverbend Drive, Mystic, CT. 06355

Sorry... we no longer accept credit cards
because of high fees.

PayPal Services Pending


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END NOTES...  Publication Notes...

Copyright © 2010 National Corridors Initiative, Inc. as a compilation work and original content. Permission is granted to reproduce content provided acknowledgements to NCI are given. Return links to the NCI web site are encouraged and appreciated. Color Name Courtesy of Doug Alexander. Content reproduced by NCI remain the copyrights of the original publishers.

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In an effort to expand the on-line experience at the National Corridors Initiative web site, we have added a page featuring links to other transportation initiative sites. We hope to provide links to those cities or states that are working on rail transportation initiatives – state DOTs, legislators, government offices, and transportation organizations or professionals – as well as some links for travelers, enthusiasts, and hobbyists. If you have a favorite link, please send the web address (URL) to our webmaster.

Destination Freedom is partially funded by the Surdna Foundation, and other contributors.

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