WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is giving Amtrak and rail projects in 15 states the $2 billion that Florida lost after the governor canceled plans for high-speed train service.
A Department of Transportation statement Monday said the largest share of the money - nearly $800 million - will be used to upgrade train speeds from 135 mph to 160 mph on critical segments of the heavily traveled Northeast corridor.
Governor Martin O'Malley announced Monday that Maryland will receive $22 million of the money.
"When Florida's Governor turned his back on the federal high speed rail dollars, Maryland moved quickly to make our case to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood," said GO'Malley. "We demonstrated that making improvements here in Maryland, at the heart of the busy Northeast corridor, will have a positive impact in our state and on the entire rail infrastructure that runs along the east coast. We applaud President Obama for his support of High Speed Rail and the Northeast Corridor in particular."
Another $404 million will go to expand high-speed rail service in the Midwest, including newly constructed segments of 110-mph track between Detroit and Chicago that are expected to save passengers 30 minutes in travel time.
The money had initially been awarded to Florida for high-speed trains between Tampa and Orlando. Gov. Rick Scott canceled the project.