THE US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has published a list of priority projects that will guide up to $US 24bn in funding that FRA is investing to improve the inter-city passenger rail service on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) between Washington, DC, New York City and Boston.

The first NEC Project Inventory includes 68 projects divided into 15 major backlog projects and 53 capital renewal, stations, and improvement projects. FRA says the projects will reverse a decades-long underinvestment in the country’s infrastructure by replacing and rehabilitating vital rail assets while also planning for major station upgrades and expansions.

“By increasing the reliability, frequency, and quality of passenger rail services, these investments will improve the rider experience and provide customers with even more flexible transportation options,” FRA says.

The projects are funded through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program (Partnership Program), which was approved in 2021. The programme provides the basis for a competitive grant programme to fund projects that reduce the state of good repair backlog, improve performance, or expand or establish new inter-city rail services. It also helps to create a predictable project pipeline that will assist Amtrak, the states, and the public with long-term capital planning to upgrade the NEC.

Following publication of the project inventory, FRA will publish a Federal-State Partnership (FSP)-NEC notice of funding opportunity (Nofo) soliciting applications for eligible projects identified on the inventory. FRA will then evaluate applications and select projects consistent with the Nofo. It will publish an NEC Project Inventory at least every two years following this initial publication.

The 15 major backlog projects are:

  • Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel Replacement
  • Bush River Bridge Replacement
  • Connecticut River Bridge Replacement
  • Cos Cob Bridge Replacement
  • Devon Bridge Replacement
  • East River Tunnel Rehabilitation
  • Gunpowder River Bridge Replacement
  • Highline Renewal and State of Good Repair: Dock Bridge
  • Hudson Tunnel Project
  • Pelham Bay Bridge Replacement
  • Portal North Bridge Project
  • Saugatuck River Bridge Replacement
  • Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project
  • Susquehanna River Bridge Replacement, and
  • Walk Bridge Program.
Stephen Gardner, Amtrak president and CEO. Photo credit: Amtrak

“These projects will deliver the modern infrastructure needed to improve the reliability and performance of train travel throughout the Northeast and establish a pipeline of critical future improvements projects,” says Amtrak president and CEO, Mr Stephen Gardner. “We appreciate Administrator Bose’s and Secretary Buttigieg’s leadership in developing this inventory and look forward to working with our partners to pursue future USDOT grants, including those provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to advance the projects listed in the inventory.”