FRA awards $16.4 billion for 25 passenger rail projects along NEC

Nov. 7, 2023
The investment will overhaul infrastructure that outdates 99 percent of all living Americans by replacing or upgrading 12 major bridges and tunnels that are more than 100 years old.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded $16.4 billion for 25 passenger rail projects along the Northeast Corridor (NEC). Projects were selected through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act's Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program (Fed-State NEC).  

According to the FRA, the investment will overhaul infrastructure that outdates 99 percent of all living Americans by replacing or upgrading 12 major bridges and tunnels that are more than 100 years old. Altogether, these investments will go towards upgrading tunnels, bridges, tracks, power systems, signals, stations and more, allowing for increased speeds, reduced travel time and a more reliable experience for riders. This means modernizing and strengthening a mode of transportation that produces fewer emissions compared to driving or flying. 

“Under President Biden, we are finally delivering the generational investments in passenger rail that Americans have wanted for years, including modernizing the busiest rail corridor in the country,” said U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These investments will make our busiest passenger railroad safer, faster and more reliable, which means fewer delays and shorter commutes for the 800,000 passengers who rely on the Northeast Corridor every day.”   

“The President’s investments in rail are the boldest ever and they’re going to bring immediate benefits to communities and the economy while laying the foundation for generations of growth,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose.

Amtrak has been awarded nearly $10 billion in funding to help modernize critical infrastructure, improve stations and support future ridership growth on the NEC.

 “These grants will help advance Amtrak’s plans to modernize the Northeast Corridor and unlock major bottlenecks on the busiest passenger rail corridor in America,” said Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner. “I want to thank President Biden, USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FRA Administrator Amit Bose for their continued support, as Amtrak and our partners rebuild this critical infrastructure asset.”

The New Jersey/New York – Gateway Program

Another major Fed-State NEC project moving forward with new funding includes the New Jersey/New York – Gateway Program: Hudson Tunnel Project Systems and Fit Out. The project includes final design and construction of the Hudson River Tunnel project and rehabilitation of the existing 113-year-old North River tunnels.                                         

"This latest shot of federal funding for Metro-North Penn Access will help us get more out of existing infrastructure and will transform commutes for not only thousands of people living in transit-deprived areas of the East Bronx, but also for Amtrak customers who will benefit from the rebuilt Hell Gate Line,” said Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chair and CEO Janno Lieber.

Construction will include installation of track, signals, traction power, ventilation, fire and life safety systems and other necessary systems work in the new tunnel. As matching funds, the Gateway Development Commission (GDC) will provide approximately $950 million as part of a financing package through USDOT’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan program. For the Hudson Tunnel Project, FRA has committed an additional $912 million through Amtrak, the Federal Transit Administration has determined a contribution of up to $6.88 billion under the Capital Investment Grants program, USDOT has provided $25 million through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program and GDC will provide additional RRIF funds as part of the financing package

"Beyond the Gateway Program, this funding will also contribute to the construction of NJ Transit’s critical Delco Lead resiliency project, in addition to helping make passenger accessibility improvements at Newark Penn Station a reality," said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. "Countless Americans will not only benefit from the faster, more efficient and more reliable transportation this unprecedented funding will enable, but the thousands of good-paying jobs these projects will generate as well."

The dozens of funded projects will create more than 100,000 jobs according to the FRA, as well as new opportunities for small businesses. In total, the program will make available $36 billion during the next five years, with $24 billion for projects on the NEC and $12 billion for intercity passenger rail projects and high-speed rail projects nationwide.
The full list of Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Fed-State NEC project selections can be found on FRA's website.

About the Author

Eman Abu-Khaled | Associate Editor

Eman Abu-Khaled is a recent graduate of Kent State University with a bachelors in journalism. She works through Endeavor Business Media with Mass Transit as an associate editor. Abu-Khaled brings a fresh perspective to the visual side of journalism with an interest in video and photography work.