THE US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has allocated more than $US 1.4bn from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 70 rail improvement projects in 35 states and Washington, DC. The FRA says this is the largest amount ever awarded for rail safety and rail supply chain upgrades through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (Crisi) programme.

Amtrak and the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) are among the main beneficiaries of the investment and together will receive $US 402m.

Amtrak will get up to $US 178.4m for the Gulf Coast Corridor Improvement Project which will allow Amtrak in cooperation with the Southern Rail Commission to reintroduce a twice-daily passenger service between New Orleans and Mobile in 2024. The grant covers development, final design, and construction activities for various track and signalling improvements, upgrades to level crossings, and improvements to stations while maintaining freight service reliability along the Gulf Coast Corridor.

In partnership with Canadian National and the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, Amtrak will receive up to $US 1.8m for the Mississippi-Louisiana Grade Crossing Improving Project. The funds will allow Amtrak to conduct a study and prioritise level crossings to be improved along southern portion of the New York - New Orleans route.

Amtrak will also receive up to $US 8.8m for its Workforce Development Apprenticeship Training programme and a similar amount for the Northeast Corridor (NEC) fencing scheme.

Grade-separated junction under construction in California. Photo: Justin Chechourka, CHSRC

CHSRA will receive nearly $US 202m to fund the design, right-of-way purchases and construction of six road-rail grade separations in Shafter. CHRSA says the grade separations are the first to be funded outside construction underway along 191km between Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield in the Central Valley.

“With the southernmost 35km stretch of active construction due to be complete this fall, this latest federal commitment represents a major step forward in our effort to deliver passenger service in California,” says CHSRA CEO Mr Brian Kelly. “We look forward to this continued partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration.”

A complete list of all projects selected to receive investment is available here.

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