The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is seeking applications for a grant program aimed at making repairs on the rail networks for passenger and intercity trains.
The Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program has $396 million in grant funding available for projects that will repair, replace or rehabilitate qualified railroad assets to reduce the state of good repair backlog and improve intercity passenger rail service, FRA said.
The agency defined eligible projects as those that seek to address repair issues relating to track, ballast, switches and interlockings, bridges, communication and signal systems, power systems, grade crossings, station buildings, support systems, signage, track and platform areas, passenger cars, locomotives, maintenance-of-way equipment, yards, terminal areas, and maintenance shops.
This program, which is funding grants as part of the fiscal year 2019 cycle, seeks to support projects that benefit publicly or Amtrak-owned or -controlled passenger rail infrastructure, equipment and facilities in rural and urban communities.
While freight rail projects aren’t eligible for funding, freight rail could potentially benefit indirectly because some portions of the U.S. rail network, such as the Northeast corridor and around Chicago, are used by both Amtrak and the freight railroads.
FRA “will consider how projects support key objectives, including enhancing economic vitality; leveraging federal funding; using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; and holding grant recipients accountable for achieving specific, measurable outcomes,” the agency said. A project shouldn’t have federal funding consist of more than 80 percent of the project’s total costs, although preference will be given to projects where the proposed federal share is 50 percent or less, FRA said.
The program’s notice of funding opportunity is available here, and applications will be accepted through December 9.