History

Reprint from the Federal Railroad Administration.

Chronology of High Speed Rail Corridors
Since December 18, 1991, 11 high speed rail corridors have been authorized. Five corridors were authorized under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) (pdf 73kb) and six were authorized under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). To date the Department of Transportation has designated all of these corridors and numerous corridor extensions. Some of the designations were specifically mandated by Congress. The corridor designations and extensions (including a clarification of the California corridor) are listed below in chronological order from the initiation of the program on December 18, 1991 to the latest designation approved on March 14, 2011.

  • December 18, 1991 - Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) (PL 102-240) becomes law. Section 1010 calls for selection of not more than five corridors to be designated as high-speed rail corridors.
  • October 15, 1992 - Secretary of Transportation Andrew H. Card, Jr. announces designation of the Midwest high-speed rail corridor linking Chicago, IL with Detroit, MI, St. Louis MO and Milwaukee, WI.
  • October 16, 1992 - Secretary of Transportation Andrew H. Card, Jr. announces designation of the Florida high-speed rail corridor linking Miami with Orlando and Tampa.
  • October 19, 1992 - Secretary of Transportation Andrew H. Card, Jr. announces designation of the California high-speed rail corridor linking San Diego and Los Angeles with the Bay Area and Sacramento via the San Joaquin Valley.
  • October 20, 1992 - Secretary of Transportation Andrew H Card, Jr. announces designation of the Southeast high-speed rail corridor connecting Charlotte, NC, Richmond, VA, and Washington, D.C.
  • October 20, 1992 - FRA Administrator Gil Carmichael announces designation of the Pacific Northwest high-speed rail corridor linking Eugene and Portland, OR with Seattle, WA and Vancouver, B.C. Canada.
  • December 14, 1995 - FRA Administrator Jolene Molitoris extends the Southeast corridor from Richmond, VA to Hampton Roads, VA.
  • June 9, 1998 - The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) (PL 105-178) becomes law. Section 1103 (c) authorizes six additional corridor designations for a total of 11 including a Gulf Coast high-speed railway corridor; a Keystone high-speed railway corridor from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and an Empire State railway corridor from New York City to Albany to Buffalo, New York. It also authorizes $250,000 per year for eligible improvements on the Minneapolis/St. Paul-Chicago segment of the Midwest High-Speed Rail Corridor.
  • November 18, 1998 - In New Orleans, LA, Secretary Rodney Slater announces designation of the TEA-21 authorized Gulf Coast high-speed rail corridor.
  • December 1, 1998 - In Charlotte, NC, Secretary Slater announces the extension of the Southeast corridor from Charlotte to Greenville, SC to Atlanta, GA to Macon, and from Raleigh to Columbia; SC and to Savannah, GA and Jacksonville, FL.
  • December 10, 1998 - Secretary Slater announces designation of the TEA-21 authorized Keystone and Empire State corridors.
  • December 11, 1998 - FRA Administrator Molitoris announces the TEA-21 authorized extension of the Midwest High-Speed Rail Corridor (now called the Chicago Hub corridor) from Milwaukee, WI to Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, in the Federal Register.
  • January 28, 1999 - In Chicago, IL, Secretary Slater announces the extension of the Chicago Hub corridor to Indianapolis, IN and Cincinnati, OH.
  • October 11, 2000 - Secretary Slater designates two new high-speed rail corridors for a total of ten and approves the extension of four corridors:

    Newly designated corridors:

    • Northern New England corridor, linking a hub in Boston with (a) Portland/Auburn, Maine and (b) Montreal, P.Q., via New Hampshire and Vermont; and
    • South Central corridor linking Dallas/Ft. Worth with (a) Austin and San Antonio, Texas; (b) Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; and (c) Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas, and Little Rock, Arkansas.

    Approved extensions:

    • Southeast corridor from Macon to Jesup, GA;
    • Gulf Coast corridor from Birmingham, AL to Atlanta, GA (joining the Southeast and Gulf Coast corridors);
    • Keystone corridor from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh, PA;
    • Chicago Hub corridor—three extensions:
    • From Chicago to Toledo and Cleveland, OH ;
    • From Indianapolis, IN to Louisville, KY, and
    • Between Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati, OH (the '3C' corridor);

    The secretary also clarified that “the designated California corridor comprehends the entire region lying between and among the extensive metropolitan areas of the San Francisco Bay, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego.”

  • January 19, 2001 - FRA Deputy Administrator John V. Wells approves the extension of the Chicago Hub corridor from St. Louis, MO to Kansas City, MO.
  • December 8, 2004 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, (PL 108-447) becomes law. Section 154 calls for extension of the Northern New England High Speed Rail Corridor from Boston, MA, to Springfield, MA and Albany, NY, and from Springfield, MA, to New Haven, CT.
  • July 2, 2009 - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announces extension of the California High-Speed Rail Corridor to Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • March 14, 2011 - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announces the designation of the Northeast Corridor (NEC), which includes the existing NEC main rail line and any alternative routings for intercity passenger train service between the metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New York, New York, and Boston, Massachusetts.