January 1, 2023 - TRA Newswire -
In the waning days of December, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced it is now accepting project proposals for intercity passenger-rail corridors under the new Federal Corridor Identification and Development Program.
This will open up a fully-funded federal planning grant for states that want to expand rail service between cities.
States, transit agencies and eligible stakeholders will have until March 20th this year to apply for long-term planning grants or to advance projects that already have some level of plans for construction. Some states are already ahead of the curve with "shovel ready" projects that could be funded later this year.
The Texas Department of Transportation took the first baby step on October 5, 2022 when Executive Director Marc Williams submitted an "expression of interest" to the FRA for five potential passenger rail corridors in the state.
Had TxDOT not filed to show interest it would have found itself at the end of the funding line to be considered for a share of billions in federal rail grants. No financial commitment was needed for the expression of interest, only the desire of the state to be on an eligible list.
Any improvements to enhance passenger rail service in Texas will have a secondary benefit for the freight railroads on which Amtrak or others operate. Any track, signal, infrastructure improvements or elimination of railroad "choke points" to allow the smooth flow of passenger trains will also help with the movement of goods to and from Texas manufacturing and distribution facilities.