By Railfan & Railroad Staff
The Federal Railroad Administration announced more than $1.4 billion in federal grants for railroad projects from coast to coast on Monday. The money from FRA’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program will help fund 70 different projects in 35 states.
Among the recipients are short line railroads in New England, like the St. Lawrence & Atlantic, and national operators like Amtrak. Some grants will fund track and infrastructure improvements, while others will fund locomotive upgrades. In the latter group is an effort by the Kansas Department of Transportation to spend upwards of $15 million to convert eight Watco locomotives to battery power. The Livonia, Avon & Lakeville, long-known for its fleet of Alcos, is getting more than $12 million to rebuild six locomotives to Tier 3 EPA standards.
One of the biggest winners is Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission, which is getting $178.4 million in federal funding to improve track and signals along the Gulf Coast in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. In total, Amtrak was awarded nearly $200 million in federal grants.
“For years, the CRISI Program has helped to maintain and modernize America’s freight rail network, and it’s the only federal grant program prioritizing smaller, short line railroads vital to our nation’s economy and regional supply chains. With unprecedented levels of funding through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, FRA is advancing even more projects and laying the groundwork for further transformation,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “The selected projects will tackle issues facing communities and invest in a 21st century rail network yielding greater benefits – faster and more reliable deliveries of goods, safer communities, cleaner transportation, and more jobs and workforce development opportunities.”