Amtrak submits grant applications for long distance network, NEC

June 8, 2023
The passenger railroad has applied for $716 million in grants to enhance its long distance network and $7.3 billion to improve the NEC.

Amtrak has applied for a total of $8.02 billion in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) funding to improve its long distance network and the Northeast Corridor (NEC). The bulk of the grants would be provided through the FRA’s Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program (Partnership Program). FRA has $9 billion in funding available for the NEC projects through the Partnership Program and $2.3 billion available for non-NEC projects.

A portion of the long distance project enhancement grant applications would be for funds made available through FRA’s Corridor Identification and Development Program (Corridor ID Program). The Corridor ID Program is a new program established under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to establish a pipeline of intercity passenger rail projects and guide where investments and technical assistance are applied.

Amtrak says the funding applications for its long distance network would be put toward 16 projects, including:

  • Multiple Cardinal and Sunset Limited service improvements
    • Increase service to operate daily – up from three times per week currently (Corridor ID Program)
    • Increase Cardinal train speeds and reduce travel times between Indianapolis and Dyer, Ind.
    • Sunset Limited return to Phoenix
  • Southwest Chief signal modernization between Colorado and New Mexico
  • Empire Builder rail enhancements in Montana
  • I-20 Crescent service extension from Mississippi through Louisiana to Texas
  • Construction of new Crystal City station that would add service to Arlington, Va.

“Amtrak’s long distance routes are vital mobility and economic links for communities around the country, and we’re continually working to enhance them,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia. “These grant applications reiterate our commitment to improving service for all Amtrak customers, from small, rural towns to major metropolitan areas.”

The grant funding submitted for the NEC would support 14 projects that are designed to modernize Amtrak’s critical infrastructure, improve stations and expand service. Examples of NEC projects the grant money would support include:

“In order for Amtrak to continue advancing a new era of passenger rail, we must make generational investments that require federal funding,” said Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner. “Securing these grants would help reaffirm our commitment to improving and replacing critical railroad infrastructure, ensuring better service for years to come.”

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.