FRA Issues $233M to Improve Intercity Passenger Rail

The Federal Railroad Administration awarded over $233 million to 11 projects in eight states via its State of Good Repair program to improve and modernize vital intercity passenger rail service.

[Above photo by CT Rail]

Those investments will help replace bridges and tunnels along the Northeast Corridor in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut, FRA said in a statement, with additional funding improving the safety, reliability, and sustainability of rail infrastructure in California, Michigan, and Massachusetts and make needed improvements Chicago’s Union Station, one of the busiest train stations in the Midwest.

Photo by the Connecticut DOT

FRA noted that the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA enacted in November 2021 expands the funding, scope, and vision of its Intercity Passenger Rail program, beefing up fiscal support for that initiative $7.2 billion annually for the next five years.

That funding will not only help advance projects that expand and establish new intercity passenger rail services to more communities across the country, it will also retain its focus on upgrading existing services and will contribute more money for projects on the Northeast Corridor.

FRA noted it plans to make fiscal year 2022 State of Good Repair funds available through a notice of funding opportunity later this fall.

State departments of transportation receiving funds through this round of program disbursements include:

  • Connecticut Department of Transportation – New Haven Line Power Program Phase I ($20 million). This proposed project replaces two power substations for the railroad signaling system along the Connecticut-owned New Haven Line. The upgraded substations will be more reliable, more energy efficient, less costly to maintain, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The heavily traveled corridor hosts upwards of 350 daily commuter trains and 60 Amtrak trains.
  • Michigan Department of Transportation – Michigan Accelerated Rail Bridge Reconstruction Project ($1.5 million). The proposed project will fund preliminary engineering and preparation of National Environmental Policy Act documents for a proposed reconstruction of five deficient bridges located on the Michigan DOT-owned segment of the rail corridor between Kalamazoo and Dearborn. The project will allow the State to avoid future bridge closures, improve reliability, and increase load ratings and will benefit travelers using Amtrak’s Wolverine and Blue Water services.
  • New York State Department of Transportation – Rhinecliff Station High Level Platform, Vertical Circulation, and Interlocking Project ($28.2 million). The proposed project will fund final design and construction to replace the existing 520-foot-long low-level platform at Rhinecliff Station with a new and longer high-level platform. Related track and signal work will increase operational flexibility needed for current and projected future demand. The project also includes improvements to the station platform including stairs, elevators, and a pedestrian bridge. Those upgrades are part of a program of projects needed to increase daily round trip trains from 13 to 17 on the Empire Corridor between New York and Albany. Rhinecliff Station is 90 miles from New York City and serves 26 Amtrak trains daily.
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