SOUTH KINGSTOWN, RI – Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Governor Gina M. Raimondo, and officials from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and Amtrak joined together at the newly renovated Kingston Station to celebrate the completion of station upgrades and high-speed rail track improvements.
The $47 million project included a number of improvements to the historic station, including a new third track at Kingston Station, as well as construction of two Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant platforms to provide level boarding at the station. The layout of the third track will enable the regional Amtrak trains stopping at Kingston Station to come off the main line, while high-speed Acela trains safely bypass them. The new ADA compliant platforms will provide easy access to trains for passengers with disabilities, families with children, and the elderly, while reducing boarding times for more efficient service.
Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD), led efforts to secure $26.2 million in federal High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Grant funding for the project. After Florida Governor Rick Scott turned down nearly $2.5 billion in federal high-speed rail funding in 2011, Senator Reed, along with the other members of the delegation, worked with then-U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to reallocate a portion of those funds to help Rhode Island promote mobility along the Northeast Corridor.
“This project improves efficiency, capacity, and safety here at Kingston, as well as high-speed rail operations up and down the Northeast Corridor. The new track and high level platform will enhance accessibility for people with disabilities and help reduce train delays. It is also good for long-term transit planning in Rhode Island,” said Senator Reed. “Passenger rail is critical to Rhode Island’s economy and our future. I am pleased we were able to redirect unused federal transportation funds to Rhode Island to improve our infrastructure and increase the speed and on-time performance of passenger rail service throughout the Northeast Corridor. I will continue working to secure funding and policies that support a modern, integrated public transportation system in Rhode Island.”
“First-class businesses go to places with first-class infrastructure,” Governor Gina M. Raimondo said. “The new and improved Kingston Station will help riders get where they’re going faster. Thank you and congratulations to Senator Reed and the whole RIDOT team.”
Amtrak contributed an additional $19.2 million in general capital funds to the project and RIDOT expended $1.8 million to complete the work.
“Transit is such a vital component of our transportation system in Rhode Island, and the improvements made at the station to enhance both the passenger experience and the operational safety and efficiency of the rail line will go a long way toward increasing the use of train travel,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr. said.
“For more than 40 years, Amtrak has been providing intercity train service to Kingston Station - connecting residents and visitors throughout the state of Rhode Island and beyond,” said Tom Moritz, Amtrak Assistant Vice President of Infrastructure Access and Investment. “Through this valued partnership with the State, we can now ensure more reliable and accessible service for our customers and transform the way they travel.”
Kingston Station is served by nine daily round-trip Amtrak Northeast Regional trains, adding up to 161,000 annual trips at the station. The station is also served by RIPTA buses and is the terminus of a bike path, making it a true multimodal hub. Additionally, more than 2,295,224 Amtrak riders passed through Rhode Island in 2016.