TRENTON, N.J. — Amtrak is seeking nearly $1.3 billion to speed trains between Boston and Washington.

(Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

Amtrak said the projects would benefit people traveling north from the Washington area to New York and from New England south. Amtrak hopes to use the projects as a cornerstone of a plan to build a new 220-mph high-speed rail system. The tunnels and station are projected to cost $13.5 billion..

Plans also call for replacing the Portal Bridge in New Jersey with a fixed structure that’s tall enough for boats to pass under. Officials say the new span, which will connect Kearny and Secaucus, would ease delays for Amtrak and NJ Transit trains.New Jersey would have to contribute up to $150 million and Amtrak $570 million toward that project.

Last year Amtrak unveiled a $117 billion, 30-year vision for high-speed rail on the East Coast that would drastically reduce travel times along the congested corridor. Amtrak also appointed a vet­eran transportation professional, Albrecht “Al” Engel, as vice president of a new high-speed rail department.