Vermont Congressional Delegation Hails $1 Million For Rail Upgrades On Vermont's Amtrak Lines

WASHINGTON, October 1 - U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) are welcoming the million-dollar infusion that the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) will receive to rebuild tracks and bridges along the two Amtrak routes in Vermont.

Along the Vermonter line, VTrans will receive $450,000 to rebuild four bridges and replace one-mile of New England Central Railroad track near Essex Junction. Completion of this project is projected to cut twelve minutes off the trip between St. Albans and Washington, D.C.

Along the Ethan Allen Express line, VTrans will receive $581,775 to rebuild two-miles of Clarendon and Pittsford Railroad track near Rutland. Coupled with upgrades being made in New York State, completion of this project is projected to cut 30 minutes off the trip between Rutland and New York City.

With rising gas prices, more people are turning to rail travel for their long-distance travel. The Vermonter carried nearly 8000 passengers in July -- a 23 percent boost over last July. The Ethan Allen Express had 5200 riders, up 9 percent over the same time last year. Nationwide, nearly 3 million people used Amtrak last month, the most ever in the railroad's 37-year history.

The Vermont projects are part of $30 million that the Federal Railroad Administration is providing to 15 rail capacity enhancement projects across the country. The Vermont Congressional Delegation supported funding for this program in this year's annual transportation appropriations bill, and VTrans submitted the grant application.