Posts Tagged ‘Federal BUILD grants’

Trinidad Failed to Land BUILD Grant for SW Chief Work

November 23, 2019

A bid by Trinidad, Colorado, for a federal BUILD grant to continue the rehabilitation of the BNSF route used by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief has fallen short.

Trinidad had sought $16 million for the Southwest Chief Route Improvement Project but that application was not approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which recently announced its most recent round of BUILD grants.

Various government entities in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico in recent years have won federal funding to rebuild the route used by the Chief.

It is not clear what the failure of Trinidad to land the grant will mean for the efforts to rehabilitate the route of the Chicago-Los Angeles train.

Several years ago BNSF said it wouldn’t maintain the route in the three states to passenger train speeds because it seldom uses most of it for freight service.

That prompted the 2014 creation of a campaign to save the Chief by landing a series of grants to repair the tracks.

In a related development, Colorado officials are seeking another federal grant to pay for a study of creating a section of the Chief to serve Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

The Southwest Chief currently stops in Colorado in Lamar, La Junta and Trinidad.

Pueblo officials have in recent years sought to have the route of Nos. 3 and 4 changed to serve their city. The Chief currently does not pass through Pueblo.

Pueblo and Colorado Springs have been without intercity rail passenger service since the Santa Fe discontinued a Denver-La Junta connecting train on May 1, 1971.

That train connected with Santa Fe’s Super Chief/El Capitan, which is the ancestor of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

The plan to serve Colorado Springs would in effect reinstate that long ago discontinued connecting service.

That service is seen as part of a larger effort to restore intercity rail passenger along Colorado’s Front Range to as far north as Fort Collins.

The grant application indicates that Colorado section of the Southwest Chief would be designed to potentially connect to a Front Range passenger rail system in the future.

Just 2 BUILD Grants Will Benefit Amtrak

November 17, 2019

Only two of the rail projects that recently received federal BUILD grants that were awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation will directly benefit Amtrak service.

Both involve Amtrak stations in Illinois.

A $14 million grant was awarded for building an underpass at the station in Normal, Illinois, that also serves nearby Bloomington.

The federal funds will pay for design and construction of a pedestrian, bicyclist, and passenger underpass and a second boarding platform at the station.

Normal is served by Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service trains as well as the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

The other grant was $14 million for design and construction of a new multi-modal transportation center in downtown Carbondale.

That station will replace a modular facility Amtrak opened in the 1980s.

Carbondale is the southern terminus of Amtrak’s Illini and Saluki as well as an intermediate stop for the City of New Orleans, which operates between Chicago and New Orleans.

USDOT handed out $900 million in BUILD grants for 55 transportation-related infrastructure projects in 35 states,

Half of the funding went to projects in rural areas of the country and the lion’s share ($603 million) went to highway projects.

Rail projects received $48.3 million or 5 percent of the total. Transit projects received $84.6 million or 10 percent of the total.

Florida received the largest amount of grant funding followed by North Carolina, Maine, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Alabama, Missouri, Mississippi and Louisiana.

California received two grants while Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut received no grant funding.

BUILD Grant to be Used for New Carbondale Station

November 8, 2019

Federal grant funds will be used to create a new transportation center in Carbondale, Illinois, that will be used by Amtrak.

The $14 million grant will be used to pay for the design and construction of the new facility, as well as demolition of the existing Amtrak station.

The new facility, once opened, will also serve intercity bus routes.

The funding is being awarded from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development program.

Carbondale is the southern origination and termination point for the state-funded Illini and Saluki, which operate on Canadian National tracks to and from Chicago.

The city, which is home to Southern Illinois University, is also a station stop and crew change point for the Chicago-New Orleans City of New Orleans

The current Carbondale station opened on Oct. 8, 1981, and was built as part of a grade crossing reduction project.

Amtrak Will Match Oregon Grant Bid Effort

August 2, 2019

Amtrak will match a federal grant bid being made by the Oregon Department of Transportation that will be used to improve tracks used by Cascades and Coast Starlight trains.

The passenger carrier will chip in $750,000 toward the project that seeks to reduce delays in the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor.

Oregon’s share would be $1.6 million of the $7.83 million project.
If the $5 million federal grant is awarded it will be used to rebuild the out of service Oregon City industrial track located between Portland and Salem, Oregon. It will create a 5,000-foot siding.

The first phase of the project would include laying new track and ties, and equipping both ends with power-operated switches and switch heaters.
The second phase will involve laying additional track on an adjacent three-mile section between Oregon City and an existing siding to the south.
This will result in five miles of new double-track section between Portland and Salem.

The track in question is located on a seven-mile stretch of Union Pacific’s Brooklyn Subdivision.

ODOT is seeking a U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grants to help fund the work.

Oregon Rail and Public Transit Division Rail Planner Bob Melbo said that under current operations if an Amtrak train is late it must wait at existing passing tracks at Clackamas to the north or Coalca to the south. If a UP freight is already occupying one of those sidings that could further exacerbate the delay.

Melbo says the industrial track was never used as a passing track when Southern Pacific installed centralized traffic control on the line in the 1950s, but converting it to a siding is more cost effective than building a siding elsewhere.

A decision on the grant application is expected later this year.

DOT Accepting BUILD Grant Applications

April 23, 2019

Applications are being taken for a pot of $900 million to be awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of its Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development program.

The competitive grant program will fund projects that DOT said will have a significant local or regional impact.

The grants can be used to support road, bridge, transit, rail, port or intermodal projects.

DOT said that up to 50 percent of BUILD funding will allocated to rural area projects that improve infrastructure condition, address public health and safety, promote regional connectivity, facilitate economic growth or competitiveness, deploy broadband as part of an eligible transportation project, or promote energy independence.

Applications will be reviewed for their contribution to safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, state of good repair, innovation and partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders.

The deadline to submit a grant application is July 15. The maximum award will be $25 million with no more than $90 million being awarded to a single state.

USDOT Awards $1.5B in BUILD Grants

January 18, 2019

Approximately $1.5 billion in transportation grants were announced this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation through its Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development program.

The grant money will be used to support rail, transit, road and port infrastructure projects.

BUILD is the successor to the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program introduced in 2009 by the Obama Administration.

In a news release DOT said the amount of funding sought by applicants far exceeded the grant money available by $10.9 billion.

The agency received 851 eligible applicants from all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

It awarded 91 projects in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Sixty-six percent — or $977 million — went to projects that have a freight component. Non-highway freight projects received 20 percent of the total funds.

Build Grant to Help Rebuild Vermont Railway

December 10, 2018

The Vermont Agency of Transportation has received a $20 million federal BUILD grant to be used for infrastructure work on the Vermont Railway.

The funding will be used to rebuild or replace 31 bridges of the 53-mile system.

The work will be performed on the southern section of the state-owned rail line between Rutland and Bennington, and continuing on to Hoosick, New York.

Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express uses a portion of the Vermont Railway on its New York-Rutland route.