Feds make $2 billion available for Northeast Corridor rail improvements

May 16, 2024

A Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announced Tuesday will offer over $2 billion in funding through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program for projects situated on the Northeast Corridor. The project is being administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

The corridor accommodates 800,000 daily passengers and drives billions in economic activity each year. Infrastructure improvements funded by this NOFO will deliver safer, faster and more dependable passenger rail services for travelers and commuters alike, the DOT said.

The investments “will be felt by generations to come, beginning with immediate benefits to communities and continuing to ensure essential rail corridors like the Northeast Corridor are modern, safe and convenient, giving Americans access to world-class passenger service,” FRA Administrator Amit Bose said.

Following decades of insufficient federal investment, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law addresses the need to meet modern-day economic demands on the Northeast Corridor. In 2023, the FRA allocated $16.4 billion for 25 projects of national significance from Boston to Washington. These investments will refurbish tunnels and bridges dating back more than a century; improve tracks, power systems, signals, stations and other infrastructure; and prepare for future initiatives to notably reduce travel times and minimize delays.

“Hundreds of thousands of passengers travel along the Northeast Corridor every day,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “We will build on investments initiated last year and continue propelling America’s busiest passenger rail corridor towards greater speed, safety and reliability.”

The funding announced Tuesday continues federal investments in the Northeast Corridor, which include major projects such as the Gateway Program Hudson River Tunnel Project in New York and New Jersey, the Fredrick Douglass Tunnel and Susquehanna River Bridge Replacement Programs in Maryland, the Connecticut River Bridge Replacement in Connecticut, and the New York Penn Station Access Project.

The competitive funding process under the Fed State-NEC program relies on the FRA’s NEC Project Inventory, which identifies and ranks projects along the corridor. This inventory acts as a project pipeline, aiding Amtrak, states and the public in long-range capital planning. Projects submitted through this NOFO must be listed in the most recent version of the inventory to qualify for Fed State-NEC funding.

The deadline for funding applications is July 15, 60 days after the NOFO was published in Tuesday’s edition of the Federal Register. The NOFO outlines the requirements of the Fed State-NEC Program, along with the criteria for evaluating and selecting grants. The FRA will also provide applicants with web-based training and live technical assistance.

Photo by Michael Kurras

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