US to start competitive proposals for intercity infrastructure repair

Intercity passenger rail infrastructure

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a USD 198 million notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for the repair and rehabilitation of intercity passenger rail infrastructure and assets.

The grants, provided through the federal-state partnership Good Repair Grant Programme will also provide an opportunity to jumpstart investments in eligible projects under the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“The Partnership Programme will make targeted investments to improve and moderniae rail assets used in intercity passenger rail service. This funding provides a valuable opportunity to enhance the safety, efficiency and resiliency of intercity passenger rail infrastructure and services, and we encourage all eligible parties to apply,” FRA Deputy Administrator Amit Bose said.

The Fiscal Year 2021 Partnership Programme will fund capital projects that reduce the state of good repair backlog and improve intercity passenger rail performance on publicly or Amtrak-owned or -controlled infrastructure.

Eligible applicants may seek to replace existing assets in-kind or with new ones that increase capacity or provide a higher level of service, ensure that service can be maintained while existing assets are brought to a state of good repair and bring existing assets to a state of good repair. This notice also makes some incidental Capital Project expenses eligible for funding, including designing, engineering, location surveying, mapping, environmental studies and acquiring rights-of-way.

Under the programme, grants are intended to benefit both the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and the considerable amount of infrastructure, equipment and facilities outside the corridor that are publicly or Amtrak-owned or-controlled. Applications will be evaluated and selected on a competitive basis. Project proposals should support key Departmental objectives including fostering a safe transport system, contributing to equitable economic progress from infrastructure investment, increasing resilience and addressing climate change and transforming US transport infrastructure.

The federal share of a project’s total cost must not exceed 80 per cent, and the required 20 per cent non-federal share may be composed of public sector or private sector funding, or both. Selection preference will be given to applications that propose a 50 per cent or less federal share of total project costs.

Starting next year in FY22, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will increase funding for the Partnership Programme, authorising up to USD 43.5 billion over five years. These funds will be made available to the NEC and for eligible uses outside the NEC to advance transformational projects.

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