Posts Tagged ‘federal grants’

Federal Grant Awarded to Improve Keystone Line

October 29, 2020

Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation have received a $15.9 million federal State of Good Repair grant that will be used on the Keystone Line.

The project involves signal upgrades on the Amtrak-owned line that is used by the intercity passenger carrier’s Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian trains.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority trains also use the line.

The work will occur between Paoli and Overbrook and allow for bidirectional train movement on all tracks and higher operating speeds.

The line is owned by Amtrak.

Grants Will Improve Passenger Service Routes

October 29, 2020

Federal grants from the Federal Railroad Administration’s Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program are expected to improve passenger service in a number of states.

The grants were recently awarded to Amtrak and various state and local government agencies.

The grants include $31.8 million to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority for rehabilitation of track, structures, and grade crossings along the route used by Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Los Angeles Metrolink commuter trains in Ventura County and northern Los Angeles County.

A $29.3 million grant went to to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for track and platform upgrades at Worchester Union Station, along with rehabilitation of two tracks and signals.

Some of the work at the station will bring it into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards as well as enable multiple trains to stop at Worcester simultaneously.

The New York State Department of Transportation received $2 million for grade crossing upgrades and addition of accessible pedestrian walkways and gates in Peekskill on Metro-North’s Hudson Line, which also hosts Amtrak trains.

MDOT Gets Grant to Improve Passenger Line

October 28, 2020

The Michigan Department of Transportation has been awarded a federal $15.6 million State of Good Repair grant to upgrade state-owned tracks used by Amtrak between Ypsilanti and Jackson.

The work will replace 80,000 feet of rail,  upgrade 42 horizontal curves, and make safety enhancements at 16 public and eight private grade crossings.

MDOT Director Paul Ajebga in a statement said the work will make the route and enable Amtrak’s Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Wolverine Service trains to operate faster.

A news release issued by MDOT said the grant will assist with completing 136 miles to serve trains operating up to 110 mph.

Grants Awarded in Connecticut, New Jersey for Passenger Rail Improvements

October 28, 2020

Connecticut received $144.9 million in federal grants for bridge replacement in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

The grants are from the State of Good Repair Program.

One grant of $79.7 million to the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Amtrak will be used to replace the Walk Bridge in Norwalk, a movable bridge built in 1896.

It will be replaced with two-track vertical lift bridges. The project also involves improvements to bridge supports and retaining walls, catenary structures, and signal systems.

The other grant, for $65.2 million, will help fund replacement of the 113-year-old Connecticut River Bridge between Old Lyme and Old Saybrook with a new bascule bridge just south of the existing structure.

New Jersey Transit will receive a $27 million grant to renovate the Trenton Transit Center.

The work involves rebuilding the station’s two island platforms, restoring the canopies for those platforms, and bringing the facility into compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act standards.

Construction of a high-level platform with an elevator will enable expansion by Amtrak, NJ Transit, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

The current wood platforms will be replaced with concrete surfaces.

Another grant of $9.8 million went to North County Transit District in California for signal and crossing upgrades.

Colo. Rail Projects Gets More Funding

September 30, 2020

A recent federal grant awarded to fund a study of intercity rail passenger along Colorado’s Front Range will be bolstered by $137,000 from state and local government agencies.

The Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission, Pueblo County, city of Trinidad, and Colorado chapter of the Rail Passengers Association will provide that money to match the $548,000 received from a federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant.

“This funding will ensure that the Front Range Passenger Rail Project can move forward into detailed stages that will help determine specific engineering and operational challenges as well as give us a far better understanding of potential benefits and costs,” said Randy Grauberger, project director for the commission.

That study will examine the types of equipment, technology and infrastructure the corridor will require for passenger operations.

Also part of the review will be an assessment of revenue projections, suggested service frequencies and estimated benefits.

Planners are expected to recommend a governance structure for the rail operator.

FRA Has Passenger Grants Available

June 10, 2020

The Federal Railroad Administration this week released a $291.4 million notice of funding opportunity for the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Grant Program.

It is the third such NOFO for the Partnership Program to help repair and rehabilitate intercity passenger railroad assets.

The Fiscal Year 2020 Partnership Program and remaining Fiscal Year 2019 funding, which includes $198 million made available by the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act 2020, and $93.4 million that remains from the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2019, can be used to support capital projects that repair, replace or rehabilitate qualified railroad assets to reduce the state of good repair backlog and improve intercity passenger rail performance.

Eligible applications may involve railroad infrastructure, equipment or facility assets such as track, ballast, switches and interlockings, bridges, communication and signal systems, power systems, highway-rail grade crossings, stations, passenger cars, locomotives, maintenance-of-way equipment and yards, terminal areas and maintenance shops.

The Partnership Program grants are intended to benefit publicly or Amtrak-owned or -controlled passenger rail infrastructure, equipment and facilities.

Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis with the FRA considering how the projects support key agency objectives, including enhancing economic vitality; leveraging Federal funding; using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; and holding grant recipients accountable for achieving specific, measurable outcomes. In addition, selection preference will be given to applications with a proposed non-Federal share that is comprised of more than one source of funding and applications that indicate strong project readiness. The Federal share of a project’s total cost must not exceed 80 percent.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. EDT on July 27.

FRA Award Grants for Passenger Projects

May 29, 2020

Amtrak and commuter rail agencies are expected to benefit from $302 million in Federal Railroad Administration grants that were made this week.

The grants are part of a federal-state partnership for the State of Good Repair Program to help repair railroad infrastructure.

The grants will fund 12 projects in nine states for capital projects to repair, replace or rehabilitate publicly or Amtrak-owned or controlled railroad assets.

The fiscal year 2019 program selections total $302.6 million of the $396 million made available for grants under the 2019 Consolidation Appropriations Act.

The FRA will make the remaining $93.4 million available with a notice of funding opportunity for FY2020 partnership program funds.

The grants, recipients and projects included:

  • $80 million to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to purchase six locomotives and 13 passenger coaches to replace existing state-owned equipment that are 30- and 50-years old, respectively. The equipment will serve Amtrak’s Piedmont service between Charlotte and Raleigh.
  • $55.1 million to Amtrak and New Jersey Transit for the Portal North Bridge project, which replaces the existing two-track movable Portal Bridge with a new 2.4-mile, two-track fixed span crossing the Hackensack River in northern New Jersey.
  • $36.4 million to NJ Transit and Amtrak to reconstruct Substation 41, an Amtrak-owned electrical facility in Kearny, New Jersey, that powers the Northeast Corridor main line in northern New Jersey into Penn Station in New York City.
  • $30 million to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to replace 210 catenary structures on Amtrak’s Hell Gate Line between Penn Station in New York City and New Rochelle, New York.
  • $29.9 million to the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Amtrak to replace the existing movable Norwalk River Bridge with two independent two-track vertical lift bridges. The project is a regional priority in the Northeast Corridor Commission’s five-year capital plan.
  • $17.5 million to MTA to rehabilitate platforms 7 and 8 at Penn Station in New York City.
  • $12.5 million to Metra to rehabilitate and modernize three interlockings on the Metra-owned Milwaukee North Line in Illinois, which is used by Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service and Empire Builder.
  • $11.6 million to the San Diego Association of Governments and North County Transit District to upgrade a section of district-owned track located on sensitive coastal bluffs in Del Mar, California, that is used by Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner service, NCTD’s Coaster service and freight carriers.
  • $8.3 million to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to rehabilitate and upgrade Track 2 from Glen Interlocking to Thorn Interlocking in Chester County on the Amtrak Harrisburg Line between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. The corridor serves Amtrak, SEPTA and freight trains.
  • $8 million to Amtrak and the Maryland Department of Transportation/Maryland Transportation Authority to rehabilitate and upgrade five miles of the Northeast Corridor mainline near Baltimore. The project will enable high-speed operations on all four tracks on this segment, as well as enable service to be maintained while tracks are taken out of service to allow repairs to the B&P Tunnel.
  • $6.75 million to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, for rehabilitation and scour mitigation on four existing bridges on the authority-controlled Ventura Subdivision, used by Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink’s Venture County Line service.
  • $6.5 million to the Michigan Department of Transportation to rehabilitate and upgrade track infrastructure on the state-owned Kalamazoo-Dearborn corridor, which is used by Amtrak’s Wolverine and Blue Water trains, as well as multiple freight operators.

Amtrak Service to Colorado Springs to be Studied

March 3, 2020

The U.S. Department of transportation had awarded a $225,000 grant to be used to study extending a section of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The study would be an extension of ongoing efforts to bring Amtrak service to Pueblo, Colorado.

Colorado Springs Councilwoman Jill Gaebler, who serves on the Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission, said Amtrak proposed extending the Pueblo service to Colorado Springs, which is the second largest city in the state.

Colorado Springs has not had intercity rail passenger service since 1971.

“They approached us about the idea of not just having the spur go up to Pueblo, but then come the extra 30 miles into Colorado Springs,” Gaebler said.

She said the feasibility study will determine the costs of providing service to Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

Gaebler said a side benefit of the study would be to consider the cost of rebuilding the rail infrastructure needed for a passenger rail line from Pueblo to Fort Collins via Denver.

FRA Extends Deadline for Passenger Rail Grants

December 24, 2019

The deadline for a passenger rail grant program overseen by the Federal Railroad Administration has been extended to Feb. 5, 2020.

FRA had $24 million in Restoration and Enhancement Grants for “initiating, restoring, or enhancing intercity passenger rail service.”

The money was authorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

The deadline had been Jan. 5, 2020, but was extended by a month after another $1.92 million was authorized by Congress for fiscal year 2020.

That brings the total amount of available grant money for the program to $26.3 million.

Funding in the program can be used for staffing, fuel, electricity, station expenses, rolling stock lease payments, routine planned maintenance, host railroad access costs, train yard operation and administrative costs.

Grants may be awarded to states (individually or collectively), cities and other government entities, Amtrak and other intercity passenger rail companies.

By law the FRA must give priority by application type, including those supporting projects that “foster economic development, expand transportation options in under served communities, and restore former Amtrak routes.”

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.