Amtrak Awarded Nearly $200M in Federal Grants

WASHINGTON – Amtrak and partners have been awarded nearly $200 million from the Federal Railroad Administration’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) competitive grant program.

“The CRISI grants announced today will help launch new and expanded service, advance critical safety and reliability improvements, and provide opportunities for the workforce, marking another big milestone as we continue to advance a new era of passenger rail,” said Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner. “I want to thank the Biden Administration, USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and FRA Administrator Amit Bose for their commitment towards improving passenger rail across America. I am grateful for the partnership Amtrak has with our state, host and commuter partners and our labor representatives that helped support these grants.”

This funding will support four projects in the Northeast Corridor (which travels through eight states and the District of Columbia) and the Gulf Coast states.

  • Gulf Coast Corridor Improvement Project (up to $178,435,333)

This project will allow Amtrak, in cooperation with the Southern Rail Commission, to begin twice-daily service next year between Mobile and New Orleans. The grant covers development, final design, and construction activities for various track and signal-related improvements, upgrades to grade crossings, and improvements to stations while maintaining freight service reliability along the Gulf Coast Corridor. A combination of funds from Amtrak, the states of Mississippi, and Louisiana, the Alabama Port Authority, CSX Transportation, and Norfolk Southern Railway will provide a 20 percent non-Federal match.

  • Northeast Corridor (NEC) Fencing Program (up to $8,800,000)

This grant will fund a programmatic study and survey to inform future fence installation at sites vulnerable to and at high risk for unauthorized access along the NEC. The project will help Amtrak plan for future related capital work that will increase safety for the communities that Amtrak operates in and through. Amtrak will provide a 20 percent non-Federal match.

  • Workforce Development Apprenticeship Training Program (up to $8,800,000)

This project will support the development of a comprehensive training and apprenticeship program for new track foremen/inspector employees to ensure proper mentorship and skills transfer, which provides opportunities for career advancement for current employees. Amtrak will provide a 20 percent non-Federal match.

  • Mississippi-Louisiana Grade Crossing Improvement Project (up to $1,826,000)

In partnership with Canadian National Railway and the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, Amtrak will conduct a study and prioritize grade crossings along The City of New Orleans route to be improved, among other related tasks. Amtrak will provide a 20 percent non-Federal match.

In addition, Amtrak supported several critical grants submitted by other entities which received funding, including:

  • Boston & Albany Line Improvement Project (Springfield-Worcester), Massachusetts Department of Transportation
  • Franconia-Springfield Bypass Project (Washington DC-Richmond), Virginia Passenger Rail Authority
  • MARC Penn-Camden Line Connector, Maryland Department of Transportation
  • REDESIGN Alabama, City of Birmingham Department of Transportation
  • Sacramento to Roseville Third Track Project, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority

These new CRISI grant awards are a major step in delivering on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s (IIJA) vision for expanded and improved passenger rail. Amtrak has submitted additional federal grant applications to improve our National Network and advance NEC upgrades through the FRA’s Corridor ID and Fed-State Partnership Programs. Those grant award announcements are anticipated later this year.

Reactions:

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

“This critical funding for Amtrak will help revitalize rail for Connecticut riders. These grants—made possible by the transformative Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—will bolster safety along the Northeast Corridor and beyond, and help train future generations of rail workers. I was proud to fight for this funding, and I am thrilled to see it put into action.”

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

“As a frequent commuter on Amtrak from Wilmington, Delaware to Washington, D.C., I recognize the importance of investing in safe, reliable passenger rail. In the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we provided unprecedented funding to improve our nation’s rail network and to support the hardworking men and women who keep our trains running on time. Now, I’m pleased to see Amtrak secure federal grants to make much-needed upgrades, including safety enhancements along the busy Northeast Corridor.”

 Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS)

“The Mississippi Gulf Coast is ready for passenger rail service, along with the boost in tourism and economic activity that will come along with it. We look forward to it. These CRISI grant funds, combined with the nonfederal contributions, will do so much to make this long-held, post-Katrina goal a reality.”

Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

“As we work to upgrade our aging rail infrastructure, improving safety along the existing lines must also be a top priority. This targeted federal investment made possible by the infrastructure modernization law will help keep Marylanders safe, tracks clear, and trains running on time.”

Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)

“I am thrilled to announce this $178.4 million federal grant to restore passenger rail service along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This is a significant milestone, representing years of dedicated efforts to reconnect our communities after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Restoring passenger rail service will create jobs, improve quality of life, and offer a convenient travel option for tourists, contributing to our region’s economic growth and vitality. I appreciate the work of all who have worked tirelessly to bring this project to this point. I look forward to getting this plan across the finish line in the near future with the support of our state and local officials.”

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), House Committee on Appropriations Ranking Member

“The funding headed to the Northeast Corridor (NEC) will improve track safety and help the NEC plan for the future. I am proud to have helped secure funds that will improve rail safety and make the NEC more efficient.”

Representative Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10), House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Ranking Member

“I am thrilled that Amtrak has secured $8.8 million in funding to study the dangers of people trespassing along the rail lines and in rail yards throughout the Northeast Corridor. We need to understand how to make our nation’s rail service safer and whether fences would improve the security and reliability of service along the corridor.”

Representative Brendan Boyle (D-PA-02), House Budget Committee Ranking Member

“I am proud to have voted for this funding, which will begin to make the Northeast rail corridor safer in the communities where Amtrak operates. The Philadelphia segment of the Northeast rail corridor is no stranger to trespassing incidents, where injury and death have resulted. Railroad tracks in crowded neighborhoods must be equipped with adequate safety measures to ensure the well-being of nearby residents and prevent potential hazards. This funding will ultimately lead to greater public safety.”

 Representative Troy Carter (D-LA-02)

“I’m excited to announce this funding which brings us closer to making Gulf Coast passenger rail service a reality. This comprehensive grant not only ensures the development and construction of vital track and signal improvements but also emphasizes the importance of maintaining freight service reliability. This effort demonstrates a collective commitment to fostering sustainable transportation options and boosting regional development. This is the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law at its best.”

Representative Mike Ezell (R-MS-04)

“As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I have made it a priority to strengthen Mississippi’s rail infrastructure. I am excited to welcome Amtrak back to the Gulf Coast, and I look forward to the new jobs and new tourism this project will bring to our coastal communities.”

Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01)

“The services provided by Amtrak are so critical in our region and their operation has a direct impact on transportation, our economy, and beyond. As the Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Building Trades Caucus and as a leading champion of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), I am thrilled to see robust technical career training opportunities like this coming to Bucks County. These federal dollars will help Amtrak better serve the people across Bucks and Montgomery counties and provide good paying jobs focused on maintaining and strengthening the Northeast Corridor’s rail infrastructure. I look forward to continuing to see IIJA projects and programs roll out and provide new opportunities for our community.”

 Representative Mike Lawler (R-NY-17)

“The brushfires along the CSX line in my district earlier this year sparked widespread concern among my constituents about rail safety. This is one of the reasons I introduced H.R. 3705, the Helping Oversee and Ward off Infrastructure Emergencies (HOWIE) Act earlier this year, which would require the reporting of railroad incidents to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). It’s also why I joined colleagues from both parties in the House and Senate to introduce the bipartisan, bicameral Railway Safety Act. I am pleased to see the award of up to $8.8 million in grant funds to fencing along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, as well as Amtrak’s commitment to a 20% non-federal match. These investments will go a long way toward ensuring Hudson Valley residents along the Northeast Corridor are safe, and that is my highest priority as their Representative. I appreciate the impact that this project will have in protecting residents of railroad communities here in the 17th District and across the Northeast Corridor.”

Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD-03)

“I was proud to join my colleagues in passing the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – a law that is making all of our communities safer and better connected to economic opportunity and growth. I am pleased to see this funding for the Northeast Corridor Fencing Program, which will decrease trespassing along train tracks to increase safety for communities where Amtrak runs across Maryland.”

Monica Tibbits-Nutt, Massachusetts Acting Transportation Secretary and CEO

“We are grateful to our congressional delegation for helping us secure this CRISI funding and thank U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and the Federal Railroad Administration for approving our application. Working with our elected leaders, municipal officials, Amtrak, CSX, and other partners we will be launching capital projects on this corridor which will have long-term positive economic impacts on the region, which will allow for additional corridor capacity, and which will decrease travel times between station destinations.”

Meredith Slesinger, Massachusetts Department of Transportation Rail and Transit Administrator

“We are pleased to have received this funding from the CRISI program which will result in new Amtrak service connecting Boston, Springfield, and New Haven. In addition to the new service, the funded improvements will benefit operation of the existing Amtrak Lake Shore Limited service connecting Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield and Albany and set the foundation for future east-west passenger and freight service growth. Growing rail in the Commonwealth is an essential element of our strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide more transportation options to better connect communities across the state.”

Knox Ross, Southern Rail Commission Chairman

“The Southern Rail Commission is excited to see the years of work by Amtrak and our other partners culminate in the CRISI grant award. There are so many federal, state, and local leaders that have played indispensable roles in this announcement. We look forward to starting this Amtrak service very soon and doing our part to keep the Gulf Coast as a premiere vacation and business destination.”

DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority

“Expanding passenger rail as an alternative to interstate travel is critical as traffic congestion in Northern Virginia continues to grow at an unsustainable rate. Building the Franconia-Springfield Bypass will allow us to expand our state-supported rail service by alleviating train interference at the most congested point in Virginia – between Fredericksburg and Washington, DC. The bypass is key to providing Virginians with reliable, consistent, and convenient passenger rail service.”

Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO

“As the nation’s largest transportation labor federation, we know that new worker training and apprenticeship opportunities will help fortify Amtrak’s hiring and retention pipeline. We applaud the Biden Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration for investing in Amtrak’s workforce and creating good-paying jobs in the passenger rail industry.”

Anthony Sessa, General Chairperson, UPRF BMWED-IBT

“Securing the CRISI grant is a significant step forward not just for Amtrak but for every union worker dedicated to passenger rail safety. This collaboration between the United Passenger Rail Federation BMWED-IBT and Amtrak symbolizes our shared commitment to enhancing workforce development and promoting safety. We eagerly await the positive impacts of this grant and remain committed to deepening our collaboration in the pursuit of railway safety.

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