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Maryland Gets Millions Of Dollars To Improve Rail Service

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Faster rides and less congestion.  That’s what the federal government is hoping $2 billion can buy as Maryland becomes a crucial part of a major project to upgrade our Amtrak line.

Kelly McPherson explains how Maryland ended up with millions of dollars.

Train travel could be speeding up.

“If we’re going to get people out of cars, we need to provide quality transportation that is convenient and reliable and also that is quick,” said Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger.

Congressman Ruppersberger is one of several Maryland officials bringing in millions to upgrade the constantly delayed train system.

“In a month, maybe about six times there have been delays, whether it be opposing trains with conflicting schedules or whatever,” said Michael Page, Perryville.

One bridge has been in service since 1906 with 100 trains going over it every day.  Its repairs have caused delays up and down the Northeast corridor.  Monday, the federal government announced a $22 million award to replace the Susquehanna Bridge.

“If you’re going to have high-speed rail and it’s going to be safe—and safety is one of the most important issues when dealing with high-speed rail—we have to make sure we redo a lot of these bridges,” Ruppersberger said.

It’s one piece of a $795 million investment that will improve infrastructure for high-speed trains from D.C. through Baltimore, New York and to Boston.

“The president is not going to give up on his transportation vision, which is to connect 80 percent of America with high-speed inter-city rail within the next 25 years. That’s half the time it took to build the interstate system,” said Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation

That includes six more trains by 2015 and 15 more by 2022 along this route.

“I think that would be a help,” said Mark Wancowicz.  “Any time you can get faster is good.”

Ruppersberger says the next big announcement will be a pilot program adding the high-speed trains between D.C. and Baltimore.  That will take some private investment.

There is no timeline for the construction of the Susquehanna Bridge yet.

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