US: Federal Grant Enables Expansion of Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago Rail Services

Improvements to the Twin Cities, La Cross, Milwaukee and Chicago rail corridor have been given the green light thanks to a new federal grant valued at 31.8 million USD (28.8m euros).

Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner La Crosse station.
Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner La Crosse station.

The funds were announced by the Wisconsin and Minnesota Departments of Transportation (WisDOT and MnDOT) at a special event.

The money will be used for a number of station and rail segment improvements. These will increase freight efficiency, saving 34.7m USD (31.43m euros) in freight costs over the next 30 years.

In addition, the work will increase the frequency of passenger rail services on the 411-mile corridor between St Paul and Chicago.

The Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago (TCMC) Intercity Passenger Rail Project will add a second daily passenger rail round-trip along the corridor, which is shared by Amtrak Empire Builder and Hiawatha Service trains.

When combined with the Empire Builder, the corridor will offer two daily round trips between St Paul and Chicago.

This service is expected to begin by 2024 at the latest, and is forecast to transport over 124,000 passengers during its first year.

Amit Bose, Administrator of the Federal Railroad Association (FRA), said:

“FRA is committed to supporting states, local communities and industry to advance passenger and freight opportunities that grow economies, strengthen supply chains, and improve options for riders.

“The Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Grant Program, which made this federal investment possible, is funded at even higher levels over the next five years thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“This funding means even more opportunities like this one to advance transformational rail projects going forward.”

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