FTA approves USD 631 million for railcar acquisition

transit agencies’ railcar The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced USD 631 million in grants for transit agencies’ railcar procurement projects which will improve safety and reliability for passengers.

“Millions of Americans use metro, commuter rail, and light rail every day, but many railcars are decades old and in need of replacement. Through President Biden’s infrastructure law, we’re proud to deliver 300 new railcars to give Americans a safer, more comfortable, more reliable service on America’s rails,” the U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

One-third of metro and commuter rail vehicles in the United States are more than 25 years old, and these older railcars contribute to delays, increased maintenance costs and customer dissatisfaction. Older railcars also lack amenities, such as digital signage and audio tools that improve the riding experience and access, and may also lack direct access for people with disabilities.

Under the FTA’s Rail Vehicle Replacement Programme, the announced grants will be used by the transit agencies in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore:

In Philadelphia, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will receive the largest investment of these announced grants. USD 317 million is the value of the grant for SEPTA to acquire up to 200 new railcars. These will replace older vehicles that have been in service for nearly 25 years, operating along the Market Frankford Line, the most heavily used line in SEPTA’s system.

In Baltimore, the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) will receive approximately USD 214 million to buy 52 new light rail vehicles to replace older vehicles that have been in service for more than 25 years.

The grants announced will help transit agencies’ railcar fleet to be replaced making transit safer, opening new opportunities for people with disabilities, and modernising their transit systems.

Chicago’s Commuter Rail Division of the Regional Transportation Authority (METRA) will  receive USD 100 million to purchase 50 modern, multi-level railcars that will feature new passenger safety, accessibility, and rider comfort amenities to replace older railcars that have been in service for more than 40 years.

Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, public transit will improve for riders, all while supporting American manufacturing jobs. All railcars purchased with federal funding, including through this programme, must comply with the Buy America Act. At least 70% of the railcar must be made in the U.S. and final assembly must be done in the U.S.

This investment is the second Rail Vehicle Replacement Programme package funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which has now invested approximately USD 1.3 billion to replace rail vehicles nationwide. In May 2023, FTA allocated approximately USD 703.1 million to six projects through the programme. Overall, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests a total of USD 1.5 billion in new funding for railcar replacement through FY 2026 to improve safety and reliability.

Share on: