New FRA grants will support intercity passenger rail service

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On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) said it had awarded nearly $1 million in grants to support multi-state and regional passenger rail service efforts.

The $900,000 in Interstate Rail Compacts (IRC) Grants, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is part of a program to provide new opportunities to improve and expand passenger rail networks in the Midwest, South and Southeast, officials said. The grants were awarded to three entities, and will be used to improve rail service in many states and communities that have never seen passenger rail service or had previous services that were discontinued.

“As funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law advances transformative rail projects in communities around the country, FRA is supporting all elements needed for new passenger rail services, from planning and development to the implementation of service,” FRA Administrator Amit Bose said. “The Interstate Rail Compacts Grant Program fills a vital need by providing entities implementing interstate rail compacts with the resources to build up an organizational and human infrastructure for the fluid operation of new services that will meet the needs of local communities.”

IRCs are agreements between two or more states to support and facilitate the development of multi-state and regional intercity passenger rail services. The IRC program allows awardees to use grant funding for administrative, planning and marketing activities, including work products that facilitate an IRC’s goals, like information technology, accounting, and human resources, as well as obtaining technical staff or contractor support to prepare grant applications.

The FRA awarded up to $300,000 to the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC) in Illinois to help increase efforts to advocate for and support the development and implementation of passenger rail in the Midwest. Up to $400,000 was awarded to the Southern Rail Commission’s Rai-Ready Project in Louisiana, which will build capacity to expand passenger rail across the American South. And up to $200,000 was awarded to the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Interstate High-Speed Rail Compact Commission for the Virginia-North Carolina Compact Administration and Southeastern Rail Network Analysis Project.