Reversing an earlier decision, the Department of Transportation this week designated the Northeast as a federal rail corridor.
The decision means the Northeast will be able to compete for $2.4 billion in high-speed rail funds that were rejected by Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Lawmakers from the region had pressed the administration for the decision.
“Given the Northeast Corridor's strong track record with high-speed rail and the region's high gross domestic product, improvements to the Corridor's rail service would be a smart investment of Florida's rejected high-speed rail funds,” senators from New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut wrote this week in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The letter was signed by Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Tom CarperTom CarperOvernight Finance: Trump takes victory lap at Carrier plant | House passes 'too big to fail' revamp | Trump econ team takes shape Warren calls for probe of Trump hotel conflicts of interest Dem: Trump must ensure business deals don't violate Constitution MORE (D-Del.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezThe right person for State Department is Rudy Giuliani Warren, Menendez question shakeup at Wells Fargo Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal MORE (D-N.J.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalWrestling mogul McMahon could slam her way into Trump administration Obama will sign Iran sanctions bill passed by Senate Victims of Nazi Art theft need Congress to HEAR MORE (D-Conn.) and Chris CoonsChris CoonsA Cabinet position for Petraeus; disciplinary actions for Broadwell after affair Overnight Defense: Trump reportedly picking Mattis for Defense chief Dem senator: Petraeus would have ‘real challenge’ on confirmation MORE (D-Del.).
The decision also means the Northeast will be officially designated as one of the corridors in President Obama’s proposed national network of railways. The department initially had said the Northeast did not need the designation because it had already developed railways.
Applications for the $2.4 billion in rail money Florida rejected are being accepted until Apr. 4.
The Northeast joins 10 other areas of the country in competing for the money, including California, the Pacific Northwest, the Gulf Coast, New England and the Chicago hub.