Newark - U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ)and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today applauded the release ofa$450 millionhigh-speed rail grant bythe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for Amtrak to make critical upgrades to the Northeast Corridor inNew Jersey.

"It isgreatnews for New Jersey that this funding has beensavedfromRepublicans'chopping block and awarded to Amtrak. Rail service is the lifeblood of our state's economy and it is ourresponsibilityto protect and strengthen itfor ourcommuters,"said Senator Lautenberg, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. "Thisfederalfunding will significantly upgrade the rail lines for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak commuters, reducedelays that plague the Northeast Corridor and make our state home to the fastest stretch of high speed rail in the country."

"This is exactly the kind of smart investment in infrastructure we need to boost our region's economy, create good paying jobs and make New Jersey a leader in high speed rail,"said Senator Menendez."This is a win-win - creating New Jersey jobs and improving the way we travel."

In May, Secretary Ray LaHood announced this $450 million investment in the Northeast Corridor to make power, catenary, signal and track upgrades. By 2017, these improvements would lift current maximum speed of 135 mph to 160mph.In June,Republicans inthe House of Representativesput this project at risk when theypassed ameasurethat would divert New Jersey's funding to flood relief projects in other states. In response,Senators Lautenberg and Menendezwrote a letterto Secretary LaHood asking him to quickly releasethis grantmoney so that New Jersey would not lose the opportunity toupgrade critical infrastructure on the Northeast Corridor.