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Biden Administration, USDOT Announce Over $233M in Grants to Upgrade Intercity Passenger Rail Service

NEW YORK, NY — The U.S. Department of Transportation awards over $233 million to 11 projects in eight states to improve and modernize vital intercity passenger rail service. Funded by the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program (Partnership Program), these investments will help replace bridges and tunnels along the Northeast Corridor in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut, each of which is more than 100 years old. Additional funds will increase the safety, reliability, and sustainability of rail infrastructure in California, Michigan, and Massachusetts and make needed improvements to the busiest train station in the Midwest: Chicago Union Station.

“From Amtrak on the East and West Coasts to commuter rail in cities across the country, Americans rely on intercity passenger rail to travel, get to work, and visit loved ones,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The Partnership Program improves upon this safe, affordable, and environmentally-friendly mode of transportation and brings us closer to delivering the world-class passenger service Americans deserve.”

For decades, America’s rail network has lacked dedicated and sustained funding, resulting in too many rail assets in need of rehabilitation. Administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Partnership Program is essential to revitalizing rail assets and bringing railroad infrastructure to a state of good repair.

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expands the funding, scope, and vision of FRA’s enhanced Federal State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program. The new program builds on prior successes and increases funding to an unprecedented $7.2 billion annually for the next five years.

The awarded projects in the Constructioneer area are as follows:

New Jersey – Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project, Amtrak (Up to $45,043,491)
The proposed project will fund the completion of final design for the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement project, which will replace two 110-year-old railroad bridges in Kearny with three new ones. As part of the Gateway Program, the new bridges will allow for a four-track segment between Newark and New York City. The four-track replacement will provide redundancy for operations during maintenance work or service disruptions, minimizing disruptions and delays and improving reliability and capacity to both Amtrak and NJ Transit services. The replacement bridges will also increase operating speeds above the current 60 mph limit.
New York – East River Tunnel Rehabilitation Enabling Components, Amtrak (Up to $10,687,950)
The proposed project will fund the completion of early action capital projects necessary for the larger East River Tunnel Rehabilitation project, including relocating an electric traction power cable and re-installing and improving a track connection within Sunnyside Yard. The East River Tunnels carry all Amtrak Northeast Corridor and Long Island Railroad services as well as NJ Transit non-revenue services. The project will reduce the risk of delays and outages associated with cable failures during the future Line 2 rehabilitation project and will significantly enhance safety and reliability for trains traveling through the tunnel.
New York – Pelham Bay Bridge Replacement Project, Amtrak (Up to $4,500,000)
The proposed project will fund the completion of National Environmental Policy Act documentation and preliminary engineering for the Pelham Bay Bridge Replacement project. This project will replace a 115-year-old Amtrak-owned and operated railroad bridge in the Bronx with a new two-track movable span. The new structure will increase the vertical clearance above the water and reduce the need to open the bridge for marine traffic, making the channel more navigable for marine traffic and reducing the risk of collision with the bridge. It will also increase train speeds from 45 mph to 60-100 mph.
New York – Rhinecliff Station High Level Platform, Vertical Circulation, and Interlocking Project, New York State Department of Transportation (Up to $28,222,898)
The proposed project will fund final design and construction to replace the existing 520-foot-long low-level platform at Rhinecliff Station with a new, longer high-level platform. Related track and signal work will increase operational flexibility needed for current and projected future demand. The project also includes new circulation and access to the platform including stairs, elevators, and a pedestrian bridge. These upgrades are part of a program of projects needed to increase daily round trip trains from 13 to 17 on the Empire Corridor between New York and Albany. Rhinecliff Station is 90 miles from New York City and serves 26 Amtrak trains daily.
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