US: $700 Million in FTA Funding to Replace Ageing Passenger Railcars

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded 703 million USD in funding to six projects in six states that will replace aging passenger railcars.

These projects aim to improve reliability, safety and accessibility on the country’s rail networks.

Northbound CTA PInk Line train at Quincy & Wells on Memorial Day 2012.
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will receive $200 million to replace railcars that have been operating since the 1980s

Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these grants are the first round of funding from the new Rail Vehicle Replacement Program, which was established to improve safety, service and the customer experience on subways, commuter rail and light rail systems.

In total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will invest 1.5 billion USD in the FTA’s Rail Vehicle Replacement Program through to 2026.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said:

“Every day, millions of Americans rely on subways, commuter rail, and light rail to get to work or school, buy groceries, and see loved ones, but many railcars still in service are decades old and in need of replacement. These grants will help bring riders faster, safer, more reliable service on America’s rails.”

This funding will be used to replace older railcars that often contribute to service delays and increased costs.

In addition, it will improve service and accessibility for passengers by providing railcars with modern amenities such as digital signage and audio tools, as well as accessibility features to help those with disabilities or strollers.

FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said:

“One-third of our nation’s subway and commuter rail vehicles are more than 25 years old. This program focuses on transit agencies that lack the funding they need to address overdue railcar replacements. We are proud to select these projects to improve passenger rail service for riders across the nation.”

The selected Rail Vehicle Replacement projects are listed below.

Sacramento Regional Transit District

The Sacramento Regional Transit District in Sacramento, California will receive 45.1 million USD to buy 16 light rail vehicles.

These will replace older vehicles that have exceeded their useful life.

South Florida Regional Transportation Authority

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, operates the Tri-Rail commuter rail service along the 72-mile South Florida Rail Corridor and in Miami.

It will receive 71.7 million USD to replace 24 rail vehicles, representing 32% of its fleet.

This project will help provide safe, reliable, and efficient transportation for Tri-Rail’s 12,500 daily riders.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)

CTA will receive 200 million USD to buy up to 300 new electric passenger railcars to replace railcars that have been operating since the 1980s.

This project will improve CTA’s state of good repair within a fleet that has an average railcar age of nearly 40 years.

Bi-State Development Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District

The Bi-State Development Agency of the Missouri-Illinois Metropolitan District operates the Metro public transportation system serving the St. Louis metropolitan region.

It will receive 196.3 million USD to replace 48 light rail vehicles that have exceeded or are near the end of their useful life.

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA)

GCRTA will receive 130 million USD to purchase 60 new light rail and heavy rail vehicles.

These new vehicles will be able to operate on both of the agency’s  systems, eliminating the need for GCRTA to run two separate fleets.

Utah Transit Authority

The Utah Transit Authority will receive 60 million USD for 20 light rail vehicles to replace older railcars.

This project will significantly improve accessibility for passengers by providing direct access to the railcars and reducing the need to use boarding devices.

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