From the Community of Practice: Washington State applies for Florida’s high-speed-rail funding.

Washington state applied for approximately $120 million in federal high-speed-rail stimulus money, part of $2.4 billion returned by Florida. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will use the money to continue improving and expanding Amtrak Cascades service between Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, B.C.

This potential funding would add to $590 million already secured by the Federal Railroad Administration and $161 million redirected from Ohio and Wisconsin – a total of $751 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) high-speed-rail funding.

“We’re working hard to improve reliability for passenger service along this route,” said Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “In partnership with BNSF, this funding allows us to address those problem areas and ensure that trains get to their destinations and get there on time.”

The original $590 million from the Federal Railroad Administration will allow WSDOT to add two daily round trips between Seattle and Portland, for a total of six. Major construction projects will be completed, including building bypass tracks to allow for increased train frequency and multiple upgrades to existing track. Several safety-related projects will be completed, including grade separations and the latest technology in advanced-warning signal systems.