FRA makes nearly $2.3 billion available in federal passenger rail grants

Dec. 8, 2022
The available funding marks one of the largest investments of the past 50 years to expand intercity passenger and build high-speed rail projects.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity with $2.283 billion available through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program (Partnership Program).

The program provides funding for capital projects within the United States to repair, replace or rehabilitate qualified railroad assets to reduce the state of good repair backlog and improve intercity passenger rail performance. This particular tranche of funds is designated for intercity rail projects located outside of the Northeast Corridor (NEC); FRA will open availability for additional Partnership Program funds for projects located on the NEC later this year.

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

Administered by 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.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act greatly expands the scope, funding and vision of the Partnership Program. Beginning with the FY 2022 NOFO, 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 Program.

“This Partnership Program NOFO 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.”

The funding announcement comes after USDOT and FRA made available more than $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. 

In total, FRA has announced more than $607 million for 85 projects in 37 states and the District of Columbia this year and made available more than $4.2 billion in funding, jumpstarting the implementation of $66 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments.

The NOFO is published in theFederal Register and applications are due no later than 5:00 p.m. ET, March 7, 2023. FRA notes it will provide technical assistance to potential applicants prior to the deadline.

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