By Keith Laing - 03/15/11 06:26 PM EDT
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 CarperYahoo hack spurs push for legislation Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis MORE (D-Del.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezWarren, Menendez question shakeup at Wells Fargo Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal Dem senator: Louisiana Republican 'found Jesus' on flood funding MORE (D-N.J.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalOvernight Healthcare: Biden hints at new money for cancer research | Trump details opioid plan | Dem urges feds to reject EpiPen settlement Dem calls on DOJ to reject EpiPen settlement Why Yahoo's breach could turn the SEC into a cybersecurity tiger MORE (D-Conn.) and Chris CoonsChris CoonsDem blasts Trump on 'jail' line: 'That's what dictators do' Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis 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.