State and federal officials on Friday celebrated a $10 million grant to restore passenger rail service between Burlington and Rutland.
The expansion would connect the Ethan Allen Express line from Burlington to Albany, N.Y. and points south — a critical link between Vermont and New York City. Vermont legislature plans to contribute another $11 million to complete the track upgrades by 2020.
"This is a day Burlington has been waiting a long time for," said Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg, noting that the last passenger trains served the city in 1953.
Officials gathered inside the old terminal at Burlington's Union Station to laud the grant, which will fund 11 miles of track construction, three new passenger platforms and replace many crossing gates.
"We received 627 eligible applications from 50 states and several U.S. territories," said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. "One of the very best plans we received was from your leaders right here in Vermont."