Amtrak's Downeaster receives $35M in ARRA fundsOn Monday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation and the State of Maine have finalized a grant agreement allowing work to begin on the rehabilitation and expansion of the Downeaster Amtrak intercity passenger service.
In January, President Obama announced that Maine was awarded $35 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA).
The Downeaster operates five daily roundtrips between Portland, Maine and Boston, Mass.
The Downeaster-Portland North Project will extend service from Portland to Brunswick, with a stop in Freeport, Maine. Construction on the project is expected to begin as early as July 6, 2010, and will continue over the next 28 months. The expanded service is expected to increase ridership, improve connectivity and balance passenger flow.
The $35 million ARRA grant will augment additional funds from the State of Maine to cover the project cost, including the rehabilitation of approximately 26.4 miles of existing rail lines owned by Pan Am Railways and construction of two Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant passenger platforms.
The Downeaster project will improve 36 highway-rail grade crossings, upgrade numerous wayside signals, install signals on the Brunswick Branch and result in many other right of way improvements.