US transportation officials announce funding for passenger rail restoration, improvements
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Missoula Current) – The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday announced nearly $2.3 billion in funding to expand and modernize intercity passenger rail nationwide.
Stemming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the funding marks one of the strongest commitments to date to expand 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. The Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority hopes to make the list in its quest to restore passenger service across Montana's southern tier.
“This is one of the two most significant investments in the past 50 years to modernize passenger train service across the country,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “Americans deserve excellent passenger rail services, and through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re working to deliver it.”
Administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Partnership Program has long funded the revitalization 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.
Beginning with Wednesday's funding announcement, 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 eligible for funding under the Partnership Program.
“This Partnership Program offers exciting opportunities to expand federal support for intercity passenger and high-speed rail services to all parts of our nation,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “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.”