Posts Tagged ‘transportation grants’

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.”

U.S. DOT Awards Grant for Gulf Coast Service

August 31, 2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday announced that it will award a $4.36 million grant to the Southern Rail Commission to help restore intercity rail service between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.

The service, expected to be two round trips per day, will use tracks formerly served by Amtrak’s Sunset Limited until August 2005 when it was suspended in the wake of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The grant is being made through the federal Restoration and Enhancement program and is intended to help pay operating expenses for the first year of service.

The states of Louisiana and Mississippi have committed $1.4 million toward the service while another $33 million federal grant award to get the service started was awarded through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program for infrastructure and capital improvements.

However, Alabama officials have yet to agree to provide any funding for the service.

SRC officials said they hope Alabama state officials will support the passenger rail restoration by providing matching funds during the next grant cycle.

“I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners and Alabama state leadership to provide the necessary support to leverage additional federal operating funds to make Gulf Coast Rail a reality,” said Wiley Blankenship, an SRC member from Alabama.

Another stumbling block that must be overcome is reaching an agreement with host railroad CSX on the infrastructure work that is needed before passenger trains can resume using the route.

Likewise, an operating agreement with CSX also needs to be negotiated.

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.

DOT Taking Bids for INFRA Grants

January 15, 2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation is accepting applications for its second round of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America discretionary grant program.

DOT expects to award $855 million to $902.5 million in grant money. In a news release it said the level of funding for fiscal year 2019 hinges on its appropriation from Congress.

That funding is on hold due to a partial federal government shutdown.

Nonetheless, DOT issued the grant program notice before the shutdown began.

INFRA advances a grant program established under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015.

Under the program’s criteria, DOT “evaluates projects to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals and to leverage additional non-federal funding.”

In a statement, DOT said the program will increase the impact of projects by leveraging federal grant funding and incentivizing project sponsors to pursue innovative strategies, including public-private partnership.

In addition, the program promotes projects that incorporate the use of innovative technology to improve the nation’s transportation system.

DOT will award INFRA grants to large and small projects. For a large project, the INFRA grant must be at least $25 million; for a small project, the grant must be at least $5 million.

Ten percent of available funds are reserved for small projects. The FAST Act requires the program to award at least 25 percent of funding for rural projects.

In 2018, the USDOT awarded INFRA grants totaling nearly $1.5 billion for 26 projects, including some involving rail.