$8.2 Billion in Federal Funding for US Passenger Rail Network

On Friday 8 December, the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced 8.2 billion USD in grants for high-speed rail and pipeline projects across the US.

This funding will benefit 10 projects in 9 states that are ready for construction, as well as 69 corridors in 44 states that have been identified for future development.

This marks an unprecedented investment in America’s nationwide intercity passenger rail network
This marks an unprecedented investment in America’s nationwide intercity passenger rail network

This investment builds on 16.4 billion USD in funding announced last month for 25 projects along the Northeast Corridor.

To date, the Biden-Harris Administration has dedicated 30 billion USD to enhancing the nation’s rail network.

The latest grants have been awarded through two funding programmes: the Federal State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail (Fed-State National) Program and the Corridor Identification and Development (Corridor ID) Program.

The projects announced through the Fed-State National Program will advance two high-speed rail corridors and fund improvements to existing rail corridors for improved service and performance. Specifically, these investments will:

  • Help deliver high-speed rail service in California’s Central Valley
  • Create a new high-speed rail corridor between Las Vegas, Nevada, and southern California
  • Upgrade existing conventional rail corridors to better connect Northern Virginia and the Southeast with the Northeast Corridor
  • Expand and add frequencies to the Pennsylvania Keystone Corridor between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
  • Extend the Piedmont Corridor in North Carolina as part of a higher-speed connection between Raleigh and Richmond, Virginia
  • Invest in Chicago Union Station, to contribute to future improvements in the Midwest corridors hub
  • Improve services in Maine, Montana, and Alaska
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said:

“Today, the Biden-Harris Administration takes another historic step to deliver the passenger rail system that Americans have been calling for – with $8.2 billion for faster, more reliable, expanded train service across the country.

“With this funding, we’ll deliver America’s first high-speed rail on a route between Southern California and Las Vegas, complete major upgrades for riders in Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maine, Montana, and Alaska, and announce a comprehensive plan that makes it easier to expand passenger rail lines in 44 states.”

Meanwhile, the FRA has selected 69 corridors across 44 states through the Corridor Identification and Development (Corridor ID) Program to drive future passenger rail expansion.

This round of selection aims to upgrade 15 existing rail routes, add or extend service on 47 new routes, and advance 7 new high-speed rail projects.

Examples of the selected projects include:

  • A new high-speed rail service in the Cascadia High-Speed Rail Corridor between Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia
  • A new high-speed rail service between Dallas and Houston
  • New and upgraded Midwest Chicago hub corridors
  • Improved service and increased frequencies from Chicago to Detroit, with an extension to Windsor, Canada
  • A new service between the Twin Cities and Duluth, Minnesota
  • A new service from Fort Collins to Pueblo, Colorado, with intermediate stops at Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs
  • A new service between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona
  • A new service connecting Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana
  • New connections between the Northeast Corridor and Northern Delaware and Reading and Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Expanded connections and increased frequencies within California’s conventional rail network
  • Expanded connections and service in Florida’s intercity rail network between Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami
  •  New service between Atlanta and Savanah, and from Atlanta to Nashville and Memphis via Chattanooga
  • Restoration of service between Chicago and Seattle, Washington, through multiple rural communities in North Dakota and Montana

The full list of Fed-State National project selections and Corridor ID selections can be found here and here.

FRA Administrator Amit Bose said:

“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law gave us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to think smart and think big about the future of rail in America, and we are taking full advantage of the resources we have to advance world-class passenger rail services nationwide. Today’s announcement is another step forward as we advance transformative projects that will carry Americans for decades to come and provide them with convenient, climate-friendly alternatives to congested roads and airports. We’re thinking about the future too with comprehensive and systematic planning efforts to transform the US intercity passenger rail network now and in the years to come.”

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