USDOT announce largest funding in over 50 years for U.S. intercity passenger rail

The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced the availability of almost $2.3 billion in funding to expand and modernise intercity passenger rail.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announcing the availability of almost $2.3 billion in funding to expand and modernise intercity passenger rail nationwide through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Programme (Partnership Programme). Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this announcement marks the strongest commitment to date for the expansion of the national network of intercity passenger and high-speed rail projects. Selected projects will improve existing rail corridors and create new ones, broadening access to intercity passenger rail services for communities across the country.

“This is one of the two most significant investments in the past 50 years to modernise passenger train service across the country,” Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Transportation Secretary, said. “Americans deserve excellent passenger rail services, and through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re working to deliver it.”

Using the funding

Administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Partnership Programme has long funded the revitalisation of rail assets, such as fixing track, structures, and grade crossings. Previous grants have funded rehabilitation type projects such as the Kalamazoo to Dearborn rail corridor in Michigan and the Piedmont Corridor in North Carolina. These routes and others are used by tens of millions of Americans each year, and new investments will increase the reliability and frequency of service and reduce delays.

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law greatly expands the scope, funding, and vision of the Partnership Programme. Beginning with the FY 2022 NOFO being announced, eligible entities can apply to expand and establish new intercity passenger and high-speed rail services. In addition, projects that improve the safety, reliability, and performance of intercity passenger rail services and project planning elements, such as environmental review and final design, are also now eligible for funding under the Partnership Programme.

“This Partnership Programme NOFO offers exciting opportunities to expand federal support for intercity passenger and high-speed rail services to all parts of our nation,” Amit Bose, FRA Administrator, said. “FRA will work closely with States and stakeholders to provide sustained and dedicated investments in this vital mode of transportation, and together, we will reshape America’s passenger rail network for generations to come.”

This funding announcement comes after USDOT and FRA made available over $1.4 billion in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement funds in September for projects that improve America’s freight and passenger rail network and strengthen supply chains. Additional Partnership Programme funds for projects located on the Northeast Corridor will be made available later this year. In total, FRA has announced more than $607 million for 85 projects in 37 states and the District of Columbia in 2022, and made available more than $4.2 billion in funding, jumpstarting the implementation of $66 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments.

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