70 winners of $1.4B fiscal-year 2022 CRISI grants announced by FRA in October

Here’s another Biden/Harris win about which you probably haven’t heard much…as reported in the latest issue of Progressive Railroading:

The Federal Railroad Administration last month announced 70 winners of $1.4 billion in fiscal-year 2022 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program grants.

The funds for rail projects in 35 states will help address long-standing rail infrastructure needs, including track improvements, bridge rehabilitations, grade crossing eliminations and upgrades to hazardous materials routes, FRA officials said in a press release.

This funding come[s] from Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and there’s a LOT of good stuff to be had, from passenger rail services and greener locomotives to bridge repairs and general safety improvements. Here’s a partial list from the FRA press release:

  • In Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, more than $178.4 million in federal funding is going to Amtrak, in partnership with the Southern Rail Commission, for the Gulf Coast Corridor Improvement Project, which will restore passenger service in a region that has not had access to it since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
  • In Kentucky, more than $29.5 million in federal funding will make improvements along Paducah and Louisville Railway’s 280-mile main line, including upgrading multiple bridges, rehabilitating locomotives, and improving track in a local rail yard through the Foster Economic Sustainability Throughout Kentucky Project.
  • In Maryland, more than $11.5 million will bring the first-ever zero-exhaust emissions locomotives to an east coast port through the Port of Baltimore Strategic Acquisition of Battery Electric Locomotives Project. In total, three older, higher-emission locomotives will be replaced with new battery electric locomotives and a battery charger at the Port of Baltimore, benefiting shippers, port employees, and nearby communities by decreasing air emissions and noise. CSX Transportation will use the battery electric locomotives in its Curtis Bay Piers terminal.
  • Investments in Virginia will result in two new Amtrak round trips and three new commuter rail round trips on the RF&P corridor between Washington, D.C., and Richmond – a critical link between Northeast and Southeast states – while also improving the fluidity of CSX’s freight network.
  • In California, two additional daily round trips will be added to the Capitol Corridor between the cities of Sacramento and Roseville, and a project eliminating grade crossings in the Central Valley will bring high-speed rail one step closer to becoming a reality.

This is the kind of stuff that is absolutely essential to the US economy, but usually hovers only on the edges of public awareness:

“For years, the CRISI Program has helped to maintain and modernize America’s freight rail network, and it’s the only federal grant program prioritizing smaller, short line railroads vital to our nation’s economy and regional supply chains. With unprecedented levels of funding through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, FRA is advancing even more projects and laying the groundwork for further transformation,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “The selected projects will tackle issues facing communities and invest in a 21st century rail network yielding greater benefits – faster and more reliable deliveries of goods, safer communities, cleaner transportation, and more jobs and workforce development opportunities.”

As Progressive Railroading noted, this $1.4 billion is the largest amount of Federal money ever awarded for rail safety and rail supply-chain upgrades.

(Want to know more? Here’s the full list of this fiscal year’s CRISI project grants.)

The 2023 route map of Kentucky
The Paducah and Louisville Railroad

Make no mistake, there’s a lot of bang-for-the-buck in these grants. The grant for Kentucky’s Paducah and Louisville Railroad is going to benefit most of western Kentucky, including multiple Ohio River ports; for its part, the Amtrak boost to the Gulf Coast will also serve to improve service to/from the Port of Mobile. You can find similar extended benefits throughout the list of CRISI grants.

If you live in one of the 35 states receiving CRISI grants, this is the kind of Biden-Harris win you should be ready to mention, because many of these projects are things that resonate locally — more jobs with rail operators and their suppliers, local manufacturers benefiting from better rail services, small businesses growing with increased passenger rail services, everyone benefiting from safety improvements at crossings and rights-of-way — and the Biden Administration is ON IT.

Source: “Hey, did you hear about Biden making railroads better AND safer?” by wesmorgan1, a Community correspondent at The Daily Kos.

Corresponding, connected home-page-featured image: California High-Speed Rail Authority via Wikimedia Commons

Update: Nov. 4, 2023 at 6:06 a.m. PDT.