Nationwide Railway Upgrade: “This funding will enhance rail safety, reliability, and resilience across the nation, providing tangible benefits to communities with railroads and strengthening supply chains for the entire country,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
The money will support 70 projects in 35 states and Washington DC, addressing concerns about railroad safety. The focus on rail safety increased after a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed and caught fire in Ohio earlier this year. President Joe Biden has called for accountability for the crash, but proposed rail safety reforms are pending in the Senate.
The projects cover track upgrades, bridge repairs, improved connectivity among railways, and measures to make routes less susceptible to extreme weather. Among the initiatives is $178.4 million to restore passenger service in parts of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi along the Gulf of Mexico, a service disrupted since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“This is a significant milestone, representing years of dedicated efforts to reconnect our communities after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina,” said Senator Roger Wicker. The grant aims to bring back passenger service to the Gulf Coast after Amtrak reached an agreement with CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads last year to resume passenger trains on the freight railroads’ tracks.
The Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad in Washington state will receive $72.8 million to upgrade tracks and infrastructure. In Kentucky, $29.5 million will go to improving 280 miles of track along the Paducah and Louisville Railway. Tennessee will receive $23.7 million to upgrade about 42 bridges on 10 different short-line railroads.