Lawmakers want Florida’s rejected rail funds to head to Northeast

A coalition of lawmakers including N.J. Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez on Wednesday asked U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to redirect $2.4 billion in High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program funds rejected by the state of Florida to the Northeast Corridor.

The request came during a meeting that included Lautenberg, Menendez, Delaware Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

On Feb. 16, Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal funding for construction of a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando.

The request to redirect the federal funding northward comes in the wake of Gov. Chris Christie’s cancellation last year of the Access to the Region’s Core tunnel project into Manhattan because of the financial burden it would place on New Jersey residents.

After that, the Garden State’s U.S. senators said they would come up with a plan to restore the project.

Amtrak and the senators then proposed a project that would terminate at New York’s Penn Station instead of West 34th Street.

In a joint release, the senators said: “We appreciate Secretary LaHood meeting with us and look forward to continuing our work with him and our colleagues to support and improve high-speed rail in the Northeast.”

Lawmakers want Florida’s rejected rail funds to head to Northeast