FTA allocates $400 million to four rail transit projects

Aug. 27, 2020
The funding is being allocated through the CIG Program for projects in Arizona, Indiana, Missouri and New Jersey.

Four rail transit projects in Arizona, Indiana, Missouri and New Jersey have been allocated a total of $400 million by the Federal transit Administration (FTA).  

FTA says the projects are advancing towards readiness to receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) under FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program. The projects must meet additional legal requirements before a grant can be awarded.

"This $400 million federal investment will help ensure that critical updates can be made to our country's public transit systems, so they remain safe and operational," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Most of the announced allocation, $248 million in FY 2018 and FY 2019 CIG funds, will go toward the Portal North Bridge Project, which carries 450 daily trains across the Hackensack River in New Jersey. The project became eligible for federal funds earlier this year with an upgraded rating from the FTA. In June, the project advanced to Core Capacity Engineering phase of the CIG Program.

The existing bridge, which is more than 100-years old, will be replaced with a two-track fixed structure. Amtrak was awarded a $55.1-million grant by the Federal Railroad Administration in May for the project.

Valley Metro’s Northwest Extension Phase II project and Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s (NICTD) Double Track Northwest Indiana Project have been allocated $50.6 million each in FY 2020 CIG funds.

NICTD’s project was approved to enter the New Starts Engineering phase of the CIG Program in February. The project will build a 26.6-mile second track on the NICTD South Shore commuter rail line between Gary and Michigan City, Ind.

In Phoenix, Valley Metro’s project will see a 1.5-mile extension of the agency’s light-rail system built from the end of the line in Northwest Phoenix to the MetroCenter Mall. The project was approved to enter the New Starts Engineering phase in March, and in July, Valley Metro awarded a construction contract for the project.

The fourth project to receive funding is the Kansas City Streetcar Main Street Extension Project, which will be allocated $50.8 million in FY 2020 CIG funds. The city of Kansas City, Mo., along with the KC Streetcar Authority and the KC Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), were notified in May that the project would progress to the New Starts Engineering phase. The project will extend the Kansas City Downtown Streetcar by 3.5 miles from Union Station to the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

"These critical rail transit infrastructure projects will help communities improve transit service as they continue to address the impacts of COVID-19 and recover from this public health emergency," said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.

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