Air Freight News

Biden-Harris Administration announces $1.4 billion in infrastructure funding for 70 projects that will improve rail safety, strengthen supply chains

Sep 25, 2023

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced today that it has invested more than $1.4 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into 70 rail improvement projects in 35 states and Washington, D.C. This is the largest amount ever awarded for rail safety and rail supply chain upgrades through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.

As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, federal investments are tackling long-standing rail needs by supporting communities nationwide to help get people and goods where they need to be safely, quickly, and conveniently. Projects selected through the CRISI program, which is four times larger since President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, support community safety through track improvements, bridge rehabilitations, fewer highway-rail grade crossings, upgrades on routes carrying hazardous materials, and more. Selected projects also improve connectivity, reduce shipping costs, increase resiliency to extreme weather, reduce emissions, and support workforce development.

“Under President Biden's leadership, we are making historic investments in rail, which means fewer accidents and delays, faster travel times, and lower shipping costs for the American people,” said USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These projects will make American rail safer, more reliable, and more resilient, delivering tangible benefits to dozens of communities where railroads are located, and strengthening supply chains for the entire country.”

USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg

“For years, the CRISI Program has helped to maintain and modernize America’s freight rail network, and it’s the only federal grant program prioritizing smaller, short line railroads vital to our nation’s economy and regional supply chains. With unprecedented levels of funding through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, FRA is advancing even more projects and laying the groundwork for further transformation,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “The selected projects will tackle issues facing communities and invest in a 21st century rail network yielding greater benefits – faster and more reliable deliveries of goods, safer communities, cleaner transportation, and more jobs and workforce development opportunities.

Projects will benefit every region of the country, with nearly two-thirds of CRISI funding flowing to rural communities.

  • In Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, more than $178.4 million in federal funding is going to Amtrak, in partnership with the Southern Rail Commission, for the Gulf Coast Corridor Improvement Project, which will restore passenger service in a region that has not had access to it since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Investments will make several track and signal-related improvements, grade crossing upgrades, and station improvements to add two new daily round trips between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. While expanding passenger service, the project will also help maintain reliable freight operations along a line used by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway and benefit the Port of Mobile.
  • In eastern Washington State, more than $72.8 million will make several track-related improvements, upgrade grade crossings, and enhance infrastructure on the Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad (PCC) through the Rural Rail Rehabilitation Phase II Project. The project is part of a multi-phase effort to improve the PCC, which is vital to the wheat supply chain. Investments will allow the line to carry modern 286,000-pound railcars, increase speeds, and protect against the effects of severe storms and washouts.
  • In Tennessee, the Tennessee Short Line Railroads Bridge Bundle Project will put more than $23.7 million to work upgrading approximately 42 bridges along 10 different short line railroads in need of immediate, extensive repair or replacement. The impacted bridges are located throughout the state, and their upgrades will strengthen the short line rail network and improve operational efficiency.
  • In Kentucky, more than $29.5 million in federal funding will make improvements along Paducah and Louisville Railway’s 280-mile main line, including upgrading multiple bridges, rehabilitating locomotives, and improving track in a local rail yard through the Foster Economic Sustainability Throughout Kentucky Project. This project will help reduce delays and increase safety and resiliency on a vital freight rail line that contributes to economic activity across 18 rural cities and urban clusters.
  • In Nebraska, more than $15.2 million will modernize the Cornhusker Railroad, improving track, grade crossings, and a railcar repair facility through the Cornhusker Railroad Regional Connectivity Project. Investments will result in safer and more efficient operations, including improved interchanging of regional trains with Class I railroads.
  • In Maryland, more than $11.5 million will bring the first-ever zero-exhaust emissions locomotives to an east coast port through the Port of Baltimore Strategic Acquisition of Battery Electric Locomotives Project. In total, three older, higher-emission locomotives will be replaced with new battery electric locomotives and a battery charger at the Port of Baltimore, benefiting shippers, port employees, and nearby communities by decreasing air emissions and noise. CSX Transportation will use the battery electric locomotives in its Curtis Bay Piers terminal.
  • In Ohio, more than $16.2 million in federal investments will rehabilitate bridges and make several track-related improvements along approximately 180 miles of the Kanawha River Railroad (KNWA) through the North Central Appalachia Rail Enhancement and Rail Corridor Preservation Project. The project will allow for increased speeds while improving safety, reliability, and capacity on a rail line that moves needed goods, including chemicals and hazardous materials, in rural areas of West Virginia and Ohio.

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