Amtrak secures federal funding to expand rail services

expand rail servicesThe U.S. Federal Railroad Administration granted Amtrak and its partners USD 200 million from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) competitive grant programme to expand rail services and create new connections.

This funding will support four projects in the Northeast Corridor, which travels through eight states and the District of Columbia, and the Gulf Coast states.

A USD 178.4 million grant will be used for the improvement project on the Gulf Coast Corridor which will allow Amtrak, in cooperation with the Southern Rail Commission, to begin twice-daily service next year between Mobile and New Orleans. The grant covers the development, final design, and construction activities for various track and signalling improvements, upgrades to grade crossings, and improvements to stations while maintaining freight service reliability along the Gulf Coast Corridor. A combination of funds from Amtrak, the states of Mississippi, and Louisiana, the Alabama Port Authority, CSX Transportation, and Norfolk Southern Railway will provide a 20 percent non-Federal match.

For the Northeast Corridor (NEC) Fencing programme, up to USD 8.8 million will be used for a programmatic study and survey to inform future fence installation at sites vulnerable to and at high risk for unauthorised access along the NEC. The project will help Amtrak plan for future related capital work that will increase safety for the communities that Amtrak operates in and through. Amtrak will provide 20 percent of non-federal financing to implement the project.

Up to USD 8.8 million will be provided for workforce development apprenticeship training to support the development of a comprehensive programme for new track foremen / inspector employees to ensure proper mentorship and skills transfer, which provides opportunities for career advancement for current employees. Amtrak will cover the costs with a 20 percent of non-federal funding.

With a USD 1.8 million federal funding, an improvement project will be implemented for Mississippi – Louisiana grade crossings. In partnership with Canadian National Railway and the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, Amtrak will conduct a study and prioritise grade crossings along The City of New Orleans route to be improved, among other related tasks. Amtrak will provide 20 percent non-federal financing.

In addition, Amtrak supported several critical grants submitted by other entities which received funding, including other five projects which include the improvement of Boston – Albany line, between Springfield and Worcester, the Franconia-Springfield bypass project, MARC Penn-Camden Line Connector, the Redesign Alabama project, and the construction of the third track on Sacramento – Roseville line.

The grants will help Amtrak and its partners to expand rail services, “advance critical safety and reliability improvements, and provide opportunities for the workforce, marking another big milestone as we continue to advance a new era of passenger rail,” Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said.

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