Saturday October 6, 2012

BRATTLEBORO, (AP) -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited Brattleboro on Friday to highlight the completion of repairs to 190 miles of railroad tracks between the southern Vermont town of Vernon and St. Albans, not far from the Canadian border.

LaHood was joined at the ceremony by Gov. Peter Shumlin and representatives of the state's congressional delegation.

The repairs to the line used by Amtrak's Vermonter train are among the first to be completed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The improvements enable the scheduled running time for the Vermonter to be reduced by about a half hour.

"The Vermonter project will grow our economy over the long-term by moving people and goods more efficiently than ever before," LaHood said.

The Vermont Agency of Transportation and RailAmerica's New England Central Railroad applied for $52 million in federal funds for upgrades and repairs to the track. NECR provided about $17.8 million to the project, through $5 million in matching funds and $12.8 million from the salvage of rail and other track materials, officials said.