The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is providing a USD 16.4 billion investment for 25 passenger rail projects in seven states along the Northeast Corridor (NEC), between Boston and Washington, D.C. The projects were selected through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Programme (Fed-State NEC).
The federal funding supports the overhaul of infrastructure that outdates 99% of all living Americans by replacing or upgrading 12 major bridges and tunnels that are over 100 years old. Such aged infrastructure causes delays and increased travel time for passengers. Addressing these major backlog projects and advancing planning studies will ensure future progress for an improved national rail network.
“Under President Biden, we are finally delivering the generational investments in passenger rail that Americans have wanted for years, including modernizing the busiest rail corridor in the country. These investments will make our busiest passenger rail safer, faster, and more reliable, which means fewer delays and shorter commutes for the 800,000 passengers who rely on the Northeast Corridor every day,” the U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.
The Northeast Corridor Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program (FSP-NEC) funds capital projects consistent with the Northeast Corridor Project Inventory (NEC Project Inventory). This programme solicits applications for major backlog, capital renewal, improvements, stations projects, and planning studies outlined in the NEC Project Inventory. For FY 22-23, the available funding has a value of USD 9 billion, and for FY 2022-2026, the funding is worth USD 22.4 billion. FRA has received 35 applications requesting USD 17.9 billion and has selected 25 projects. USD 9 billion is the amount awarded in FY22-23 with USD 7.4 billion the out-year phased funding agreement. This results in a total amount awarded of USD 16.4 billion.
For the 13 selected projects covering major backlog, FTA awarded USD 13.95 billion. Two selected planning studies projects received USD 25.6 million, while funds totalling USD 2.45 billion were awarded to 10 projects covering capital renewal, stations, and improvements. The total funding summary comprises 13 major backlog projects, 13 bridge and tunnel projects and 16 construction projects.
Major backlog projects
- Connecticut – River Bridge replacement project obtained USD 826.6 million which has a total cost of USD 1.2 billion. The construction will start in June 2024 and is expected to be completed in September 2029.
- Connecticut – Saugatuck River Bridge replacement was awarded USD 23.2 million and has a total cost of USD 580 million. construction will begin in 2030 and will take three years to complete.
- Connecticut – Devon Bridge replacement project was awarded USD 245.9 million and its total value of investment reaches USD 3 billion. With work expected to start in October 2030, the project is expected to be completed in 2036.
- Connecticut – Walk bridge replacement won a funding of USD 465 million and has a total value of USD 1 billion. Construction works will take seven years to complete. The construction was launched in April 2023 and will be completed at the beginning of 2030.
- Maryland – B&P Tunnel replacement programme: Frederick Douglass Tunnel obtained USD 4.7 billion, and its total cost reached USD 6 billion. The major construction will begin next year and is expected to be completed in September 2034.
- Maryland – Bush River Bridge replacement programme won a federal funding of USD 18.8 million. The entire project is worth USD 743.5 million, and work is expected to start in 2028 and be completed in 2034.
- Maryland – Gunpowder River Bridge replacement programme obtained USD 30 million funding of the total cost of USD 1.3 billion. With construction works to be launched in 2028, the project would be completed in 2036.
- Maryland – Susquehanna River Bridge replacement programme secured a federal funding of USD 2 billion. The total cost of the project is USD 2.7 billion. The project will be completed in 2036, after 11 years of construction.
- New Jersey – Gateway Program: Dock Bridge Rehabilitation project obtained USD 300 million of its total cost of USD 375.2 million. The work will take four years to be completed and will end in 2028.
- New Jersey – Gateway Program: Sawtooth Bridges replacement project enabling components won a USD 133.3 million funding of its total costs of USD 1.35 billion. The construction will begin next year and will be completed in 2026.
- New Jersey/New York – Gateway Program: Hudson Tunnel project secured USD 3.8 billion, and its total value is estimated at USD 16.1 billion. In 2025 major works will be launched and are expected to be completed at the end of 2040.
- New York – East River Tunnel rehabilitation secured USD 1.2 billion of its total cost of USD 1.58 billion. The work will take three years to complete (in 2027).
- New York – Pelham Bay Bridge replacement obtained more than USD 58 million for final design. USD 716 million is the total cost of the project expected to be completed in 2028.
Capital renewal, stations, and improvement projects
- Connecticut – Devon Bridge Interim Repairs secured USD 119.3 million of its total cost of USD 149 million. The work will begin in mid-2025 and will be completed at the end of 2027.
- Connecticut – the third phase of Hartford Line double track project secured USD 104.8 million and has a total cost of USD 237.7 million. The work will start in mid-2024 and be completed in mid-2027.
- Connecticut – New Haven Line network infrastructure upgrade was selected for USD 15.4 million funding and has a total cost of USD 19.2 million. The work will take three years from 2024 to 2027.
- Connecticut – New Haven Line power improvement project secured USD 122.8 million funding and has a total cost of USD 200 million. The work will begin in November 2024 and is expected to be completed in 2028.
- Connecticut – New Haven Line track improvement and mobility enhancement (TIME) phase 1 and 3 obtained USD 71.6 million of its total cost of USD 932 million. The project will start at the beginning of 2025 and will be completed in 2028.
- Maryland – Baltimore Penn Station secured USD 108.3 million for the master plan and project’s total cost is estimated at USD 251.8 million. The project will be completed in 2026.
- New Jersey – Delco Lead secured USD 180.9 million of its total cost of USD 456.74 million covering a new service and inspection facility, crew quarters, equipment storage space, and the 5.6 km Delco Lead track, which can store approximately 300 rail cars. The work will begin in March 2025 and will be completed at the end of 2028.
- New Jersey – Newark Penn Station vertical circulation improvements will be implemented with a funding of USD 59.2 million of its total cost of USD 74 million. The project which covers the final design and construction to upgrade, rehabilitate, or replace 11 elevators and 17 escalators, will be completed in December 2029.
- New York – Penn Station access project secured USD 1.64 billion of its total cost of USD 2.6 billion. Major construction will begin in January 2024 and will be completed at the end of 2026.
- Pennsylvania – Reconstruction of Cornwells Heights Station secured USD 30.5 million of its total cost of USD 61 million. The works will take two years to complete (in 2028).
- Multi-State – New Haven (Connecticut) to Providence (Rhode Island) capacity planning study was selected for a funding of USD 4 million of its total cost of USD 5 million. The study will be used for improvements to support better Amtrak intercity services.
- Multi-State – NEC South End Infrastructure Renewal and Speed improvement planning study will be implemented with a funding of USD 21.6 million. The total cost of the project is USD 27 million. The study will identify needs and opportunities to improve services, including increasing operating speeds through on-corridor or adjacent-to-corridor infrastructure improvements along the NEC between Washington, DC, and northern New Jersey, with potential benefits to commuter service operators in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
The USD 16.4 billion federal funding will support “over 100,000 good-paying construction jobs and advance Gateway Program projects”, the Department of Transportation says.
The Northeast Corridor (NEC) is the busiest rail route in the US operated by 2,200 daily trains with 260 million annual passenger trips. Vital to the American economy, the area the NEC spans accounts for 24 million jobs and 20% of the national GDP, while serving 800,000 intercity passengers riders, commuters, and travellers daily.