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US rail operator to make high speed rail plans private finance friendly

US rail operator Amtrak has said it is to update its vision for high speed rail in the north east with a business plan that identifies potential public and private funding sources.

Amtrak said last week that by mid-2012 it will have completed a business and financial plan for its North East Corridor (NEC) Vision that will identify funding sources and present strategies for financing, including “maximising private investment opportunities”. In addition, it said it will address a variety project financing issues such as risk, cerdit, debt and investment phasing.

Amtrak has projected that planning and construction of the next generation high speed Northeast Corridor line will cost approximately $117bn (£77bn) and create a travel time from New York to Washington, including a stop in Philadelphia, to 96 minutes, and from Boston to New York to 84 minutes.

Last August, US transportation secretary Ray LaHood announced nearly $745M (£451M) for construction along the NEC to upgrade some of the most heavily-used sections. Amtrak said that it will advance design on this scheme in 2012, with major construction work to begin in 2013 and project completion expected in 2017.


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