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Vermont looks to federal funds for rail plans

Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary David Dill joined transportation administrators from the six New England states to advance the goal of regional cooperation and coordination to achieve the mutual goal of enhancing mobility options for the people of the northeast.

The meeting, which was held in Connecticut, was a follow-up to a meeting of the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials in Boston where a vision for the region covering high-speed and intercity passenger rail, as well as freight rail, was developed and ultimately unveiled in August.

Dill updated his New England counterparts on Vermont's submission of Economic Stimulus grant requests for Amtrak's Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express service routes. The grants would allow for increased track speeds, reduced travel times, improvement of time performance and expanding the Ethan Allen's Western Corridor service to Burlington.

All six New England states have submitted taxpayer stimulus grant applications under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for high-speed or intercity commuter rail funding. The administrators expressed cautious optimism about their chances of success with these applications, while recognizing the extremely competitive nature.

The administrators also pledged to continue their work and dialogue with all members of the New England congressional delegations to secure passage of a federal transportation funding bill for the entire country.

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