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Amtrak Pushes For Upgrade: Rumors Say High-Speed Rail Proposals Could Possbibly Affect Eight States

Travelers Today       By    Mary Ann Tennyson

Updated: Oct 28, 2016 06:28 PM EDT

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amtrak, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, new jersey, new york, Pennsylvania, rhode island

The Federal Railroad Administration has given out several recommendations to boost the Northeast high speed rail corridor. Because of this, the residents who live on the states which are covered by the route of the Amtrak Acela Express ranging from Boston until Washington have provided their two cents on the matter - ranging from all sorts of worries and apprehension. Some on the other hand even expressed their eagerness for the project. The agency has decided to announce its proposals for the latter part of the year, upon considering three different alternatives or opting to do nothing about the matter.

According to Mark O'Brien, as reported by Boston.com, these are the recommendations which garnered the most notice:

For the state of Connecticut, the residents living in Southeastern Connecticut expressed the most opposition due to the fact that the shoreline towns of Old Lyme and its neighbors are afraid that the construction of a bypass spanning 50 miles in order to avoid the current route would cause damage in their area. However, another proposal which suggests building a new inland route, a second 'spine' which will stop at Hartford and perhaps the University of Connecticut has received slightly lesser attention. Another proposal would direct that spine underneath the Long Island Sound and would connect the New Haven Station there through a nearly 25 mile long tunnel.

For the residents of Delaware, there was a significant amount of people who expressed their anxiety over a brand new high speed route option that could bypass the state's biggest city, Wilmington which also serves as a central banking district for this state.

In Maryland, the most significant proposed alteration would be to modify the tunnels found beneath Baltimore. Various environmental groups along with the residents spoke out their concern over a proposed parallel track which would affect the edge of a national wildlife refuge, Patuxent Research Refuge.

A proposed alternative route could be turned inland and take a pause in Massachusetts' second-largest city, Worcester before it comes to its end in Boston. Some rather prefer that the railroad agency focus more on improving and increasing the speed of the already existing route which passes thru Rhode Island instead of the proposing something different. People are let down by the plan since it does not offer a means to link the high-speed rail north to New Hampshire and Maine which can be done by connecting the two major stations in Boston.

Some large improvements which are being done in cooperation with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are already underway. New railroad tunnels which are located underneath the Hudson river which could help in increasing the rate of trains going to New York are included in these improvements. Other proposed projects are for relieving chokepoints as well as building additional Hudson River tunnel tracks and the creation of parallel segments meant for high-speed travel.

The new high speed route that crosses over Long Island and downwards through the Long Island Sound, eventually coming up near New Haven, Connecticut is deemed as the most extreme out of all the proposals. According to a letter of opposition sent by Nicholas Episcopia, who is the current mayor of the village that is the seat of Nassau County, "It would literally destroy Garden City." This is because it would severely affect dense neighborhoods. A different alternative would be to build a brand new route that would instead go through northern New York suburbs en route to Hartford, Connecticut.

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In Pennsylvania, a proposal was made to build a new rail segment that will connect Philadelphia International Airport. This caused a significant number of residents to feel worried because this would impact the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

As for Rhode Island, its leaders who are anticipating to build better economic bonds with Boston and New York City is highly concerned over the fact that the new Acela route doesn't leave out Providence. This could possibly happen if the railroad industry prefers to do a more inland route which will go through central Connecticut instead. Though met with strong opposition from the residents of Connecticut, a proposal to bypass through the southwestern part of Rhode island has been given less attention.

from Amtrak: Amtrak Announces Next-Generation of High-Speed Rail

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