USD 2.1 billion investment has been provided by the US Department of Transportation to improve existing routes and advance plans to expand Amtrak train service across the country.
The multiple grants announced will go directly to Amtrak and others will support existing and potential partners. The provided grants are:
- USD 108.5 million directly to Amtrak for station and service upgrades;
- USD 2 billion to Amtrak partners in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maine for infrastructure upgrades that will directly benefit Amtrak customers and host railways; and
- USD 34.5 million to 39 states and localities for planning and development of 69 new and improved intercity passenger rail corridors, which Amtrak is primed to support.
The grants were awarded through the Federal Railroad Administration’s Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Programme for projects located across the National Network, as well as the Corridor Identification and Development Program (Corridor ID).
The investments which will support Amtrak train service across the United States “are another step forward as we expand and modernise our country’s rail network, providing more Americans the world-class passenger rail they need and deserve. Nationwide projects receiving federal support through FRA’s Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program, will result in faster trips, more reliability, and expanded service across the country,” said Amit Bose, the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
The Fed-State Partnership programme supports the capital projects across the US rail network that reduce the state of good repair backlog, improve performance, or expand or establish new intercity passenger rail service.
Amtrak received three grants:
Two grants totalling USD 93.6 million for the Chicago Union Station (CUS) projects. Chicago is the hub of Amtrak’s National Network. Every day, dozens of long distance and state supported trains start or end their routes at CUS. Two separate grants will advance elements of the Chicago Hub Improvement Programme (CHIP), Amtrak’s multi-phased project to revitalise CUS and revolutionize Midwest passenger rail. These grants will help improve the customer experience for Amtrak and Metra customers by funding renovation and expansion of the station platforms, improving passenger access and capacity, bringing the platforms into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, and improving ventilation systems and air quality.
USD 14.9 million is the funding provided for Malta, Mont. Corridor operational enhancement project to improve Empire Builder service by eliminating critical bottlenecks that cause delays and operational conflicts for freight and passenger trains. The work involves final design and construction activities for track, bridge, signalling and other rail infrastructure improvements on BNSF tracks that Amtrak’s long distance service operates on in the Malta, Mont. area and at the Malta Amtrak station.
In addition to these three grants, multiple partners also received funding through this programme to upgrade tracks and bridges that Amtrak trains operate on, which will help to improve reliability and reduce travel times.
Corridor ID Programme (each award up to USD 500,000) – this comprehensive intercity passenger rail planning and development programme created by the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act is designed to help guide intercity passenger rail development throughout the United States and create a pipeline of intercity passenger rail projects ready for implementation. The FRA awarded grant funding to all four applications Amtrak submitted. Another 65 applications submitted by other entities also received funding. This funding could support development of a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for preparing, completing, or documenting related service development plans.