North Carolina today won just $4 million of the $624 million it recently requested in federal high-speed rail grants.
The Federal Railroad Administration said NCDOT will use the money to advance planning and finish environmental studies on a proposed new short-cut track from Raleigh to Richmond, for passenger trains that would run as fast as 110 mph.
The proposed 162-mile line would be 35 miles shorter than the current rail route between the two state capitals. With faster trains, it would cut two hours from travel times between Raleigh and Washington, D.C. Another $2 billion or so would be needed to build the line, including more than 100 new bridges.
NCDOT had sought a larger share of $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail grants recently rejected by the state of Florida. Most of the money awarded today went elsewhere: $795 million to upgrade the busy northeast rail corridor, $404 million to advance Midwest fast-train projects linking Chicago to Detroit and St. Louis, $300 million to expand a planned 220mph line in California, and $336 million to buy new locomotives and rail cars for California and the Midwest.