FRA announces $1.4B in rail improvement grants

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced on Monday it awarded more than $1.4 billion in rail improvement grants to 70 projects in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

Part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the grants amounted to the largest amount ever awarded for rail safety and rail supply chain upgrades through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.

“For years, the CRISI Program has helped to maintain and modernize America’s freight rail network, and it’s the only federal grant program prioritizing smaller, short-line railroads vital to our nation’s economy and regional supply chains. With unprecedented levels of funding through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, FRA is advancing even more projects and laying the groundwork for further transformation,” FRA Administrator Amit Bose said. “The selected projects will tackle issues facing communities and invest in a 21st-century rail network yielding greater benefits – faster and more reliable deliveries of goods, safer communities, cleaner transportation, and more jobs and workforce development opportunities.”

The projects, officials said, support track improvements, bridge rehabilitations, upgrades to hazardous materials routes, increased resiliency to extreme weather, reduced emissions and workforce development.

Along the Gulf Coast, more than $178.4 million will go to Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission for the Gulf Coast Corridor Improvement project that will restore passenger service to the region lost due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Additionally, eastern Washington State will receive more than $72.8 million for track-related improvements on the Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad through the Rural Rail Rehabilitation Phase II Project. And more than $29.5 million will go to the Foster Economic Sustainability Throughout Kentucky project to make improvements along Paducah and Louisville Railway’s 280-mile main line to reduce delays and increase safety and resiliency along the freight rail line that reaches 18 rural cities and urban clusters.

“Under President Biden’s leadership, we are making historic investments in rail, which means fewer accidents and delays, faster travel times, and lower shipping costs for the American people,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “These projects will make American rail safer, more reliable, and more resilient, delivering tangible benefits to dozens of communities where railroads are located, and strengthening supply chains for the entire country.”