THE United States’ Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced that 11 major rail projects are being recommended to receive a share of $US 4.45bn allocated to public transport construction projects in the Biden administration’s fiscal 2024 budget request to congress.  

Nine of the projects are receiving a funding recommendation for the first time while others on the list are already under construction or advanced in the planning process.

FTA has already allocated $US 1.1bn in fiscal 2022 and 2023 to fund 31 public transport projects across the US.

Rail projects recommended to receive federal funding for the first time include Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line Extension Project, which will receive $US 350m towards building a 9km metro extension on Chicago’s Far South Side to help reduce commuting times and to promote economic development in that part of Illinois. A planning and preliminary engineering services contract for the extension project was approved in February 2020.

The second first-time rail scheme, in line to receive $US 316.8m, is the Utah Department of Transportation’s FrontRunner Strategic Double Track Project, which includes not only track doubling but also the purchase of 10 new commuter trains with the aim of increasing capacity.

Four rail projects with existing construction grant agreements are among those proposed to receive FY 2024 Budget funding, and include two in California: the Los Angeles Westside Subway Section 2 and Section 3 projects. Together they are recommended to receive $US 643m.

In Minnesota, the Minneapolis Southwest Light Rail Transit project, which aims to add 23.3km to the existing Metro Green Line, is in line to receive $US 291.9m.

Finally, the Seattle Lynwood Link Light Rail Extension Project is likely to receive $US 250.7m for a new line from Northgate station in King County to Lynnwood City Center station in Snohomish County, both in Washington state.

An artist's impression of how the Bart Silicon Valley Phase II Project's San Jose Downtown station will look. Picture credit: Bart

There are five rail projects recommended to receive FY 2024 grants continuing partial funding already allocated in prior budgets. In California, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (Bart) Silicon Valley Phase II Project for a 9.6km extension through downtown San Jose to Santa Clara is recommended to receive $US 500m. Authority to pursue federal funding to cover up to 50% of Phase II was received in December 2022.

Also in California, the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Phase I Project is proposed to receive $US 167m through FTA’s Expedited Project Delivery Programme. The joint venture appointed as construction management support services consultant for the 10.7km light rail line was named in January 2023 (IRJ January 31, 2023 transit news).

In New York and New Jersey, the Hudson Tunnel Project to build a new double-track tunnel on the Northeast Corridor from Bergen Palisades in New Jersey to Manhattan is set to receive $US 700m. Agreements between New York and New Jersey over Phase I of the $US 12.3bn project were signed in July 2022.

Also in New York and New Jersey, the proposed Second Avenue Subway Phase II Project, improving transport between Manhattan and the New York City East Side, is recommended to receive $496.8m.

The listed projects recommended for FY 2024 grants require local match funding. Federal support will begin to flow to project sponsors only after the FTA signs the relevant grant agreements when it is satisfied that project sponsors have met the necessary legal requirements.

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