WASHINGTON — The U.S. government is doling out millions of dollars to rail projects across the country in hopes of improving supply chains and passenger rail service.
The Biden administration’s announcement of $368 million in consolidated rail infrastructure and safety improvements will go towards more than 46 projects designed to improve safety and expand the country’s rail infrastructure. They include the Raleigh-Richmond Corridor Project, which will receive up to $57.9 million for study and preliminary engineering to potentially provide new passenger service and improve travel times, and up to $6.3 million to make improvements to Ettrick Station in Chesterfield, including a new ADA-compliant platform. Both credits require matching funds from the Virginia and North Carolina Departments of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and Amtrak.
“Passenger rail is an affordable way for millions of Americans to get between cities for work, to visit families and more, while freight rail helps get essential goods to the our stores at a lower cost and with a lower carbon footprint than most other modes of transport. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on a call with reporters on Wednesday.
“And yet we see our rail industry today in trouble,” he continued.
Railroads have become congested as goods move from shipyards to trains, leading to “higher costs and longer delays for Americans and for businesses,” Buttigieg said.
The grants will go to projects in 32 states, with nearly double the minimum 25% investment going to rural communities, according to Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Amit Bose.
Rural projects, Bose said, include $8.3 million for a rural capacity expansion of the Florida Panhandle, “which will allow the Florida Gulf and Atlantic Railroad to move essential freight in rural areas,” as well as $11 million dollars to upgrade the Cimarron Valley Railroad in the southwest. Kansas that “will help agricultural and biodiesel producers move more goods faster.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation would receive $6.2 million to upgrade “18 miles of rail in rural areas, which will allow for heavier loads, more reliable service and safer working conditions,” said Buttigieg.
A total of $57.9 million, Buttigieg said, would be used to “support studies and preliminary engineering to lay the foundation for a new intercity passenger train from Raleigh to Richmond and provide better service to poorly-served rural communities.” served and in the minority”.
Morgan State University, a historically black college and university in Baltimore, will receive $4.6 million to create a railroad engineering program that is expected to be modeled after the University of Delaware’s railroad engineering program.
More to come in 2023
The federal railroad grants program, sometimes shortened to CRISI, will expand next year to provide $1 billion in grants under the bipartisan infrastructure law that Congress approved last year.
“It’s going to allow us to fund even more projects like these, because I can tell you that we’ve seen more good applications in this cycle of the program than we’ve been able to support,” Buttigieg said. “In doing so, we will create jobs, reduce delays and improve the movement of people and goods across the country.”