Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Department of Transportation’

SEPTA Rail Contract Being Reviewed

February 28, 2023

The Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation has launched an investigation into the procurement of new rail cars by the Southeast Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

SEPTA awarded a $138 million contract to China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation to build 45 rail cars.

The OIG audit will review whether the contract violates the Federal Transit Authority’s Buy America requirements for the acquisition of rolling stock.

In a news release, the USDOT OIG said the audit will examine FTA’s oversight of SEPTA’s certification of CRRC’s adherence to Buy America requirements, and SEPTA’s calculation of the total value of foreign components. The audit is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

South Shore Receives Federal Loan for Track Project

December 24, 2022

The South Shore Line commuter railroad will receive a $27.5 million federal loan to be used to help fund its double tracking project in Northwest Indiana.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said the loan will come from its Build America Bureau.

The South Shore, which is overseen by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, is undertaking a $649 million project to install double track on a 26.6-mile segment between Gary and Michigan City, Indiana.

The project includes installation of 18 miles of new track, eliminating street running in Michigan City, renovating five stations, eliminating 13 at-grade roadway/track crossings, and adding 1,475 parking spaces at stations.

A USDOT news release said the the remaining grade crossings will be upgraded with automatic warning devices including flashers, gates and bells.

The project is expected to be completed by late 2024. The South Shore provides commuter service between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana. A separate company provides freight service on the route and is not part of NICTD.

NICTD  earlier received a $203.3 million loan to be used in the construction of the 8-mile West Lake Corridor Project to create a South Shore spur route from Hammond to Dyer, Indiana.

That loan was provided through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Program.

USDOT Take RAISE Grant Applications

December 16, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking applications for the next found of Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability and Equity grants.

The agency said it will disburse $1.5 billion in RAISE grants in federal fiscal year 2023.

Applications will be accepted through Feb. 28. In FY 2022, RAISE grants were awarded to help pay for 166 projects nationwide.

The program is designed to provide funding for freight and passenger transportation infrastructure projects that are harder to support through other USDOT grant programs.

Award winners will be announced by June 28.

USDOT Awarded Amtrak $4.3B This Fall

December 2, 2022

Amtrak was awarded $4.3 billion this fall by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which the agency described as “unprecedented funding.”

The funds are being used to modernize Amtrak rolling stock and stations. The latter largely involves bringing Amtrak stations into compliance with access standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

USDOT said much of the funding is coming from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act., which the agency said will allocate to Amtrak $22 billion over a five-year period. That legislation was approved in November 2021.

That money, USDOT said, will be used to bring 280 stations into compliance with the ADA and replace a fleet of 1,000 rail cars and locomotives.

Some of the new equipment is entering service this year and more than 525 new rail cars and locomotives will begin service by the end of the decade.

The USDOT news release said some funding will be used to work down an infrastructure maintenance backlog and to invest in modern technology systems.

USDOT OIG Outlines Challenges Agency Faces in Allocating Funding From Infrastructure Program

October 13, 2022

Three major challenges face the U.S. Department of Transportation as it implements the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the agency’s Office of Inspector General said.

In a memo to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, USDOT Inspector General Eric Soskin said the challenges will affect how DOT allocates $1.2 trillion in infrastructure projects authorized by the law approved by Congress in November 2021.

  • USDOT needs to effectively identify, assess and develop plans to mitigate risks to achieving its goals, particularly the heightened risk of fraud;
  • The department needs to recruit, develop and retain the necessary workforce to implement and oversee IIJA programs while also effectively coordinating with key stakeholders to overcome their immediate administrative challenges; and
  • The department needs to enhance and, in some cases, establish effective and efficient processes for awarding and administering IIJA grants and overseeing grantees’ compliance with federal requirements.

The infrastructure bill authorized $660 billion in funding for new and existing federal transportation programs and is expected to be implemented through fiscal-year 2026.

The memo said that $383 billion is reserved for contract authority — specified amounts that the department can expend in each of the years covered by the law — while $184 billion is designated for USDOT program appropriations.

Rail-related objectives of the allocations include paying for 15,000 new subway cars, buses and ferries and one year for investment in 75 new “Made-in-America” locomotives and at least 73 intercity trainsets to be used by Amtrak.

CRISI Grant Funding Pool is $1.4B

September 4, 2022

A notice of funding opportunity was issued last week by the U.S. Department of Transportation for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants.

The agency said it plans to award $1.4 billion in CRISI funding to projects designed to improve freight- and passenger-rail infrastructure. 

In a news release, USDOT said CRISI grant funding has more than tripled due to an infusion of funding provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The news release noted that CRISI grants are a major source of funding for short line freight railroads. The deadline to apply for a CRISI grant is Dec. 1.

Under terms of the IIJA, at least $376,035,000, or 25 percent of amounts appropriated, will be made available for projects in rural areas. At least $150,000,000 will be made available for capital projects in support of new intercity passenger rail service routes including alignments of existing routes.
At least $25,000,000 will be devoted to projects seeking to prevent trespassing on railroad property and to reduce associated trespasser injuries and fatalities.

COTA Land $750,000 Federal Grant

August 24, 2022

Columbus-based Central Ohio Transit Authority has won a $750,000 Regional Infrastructure Accelerators grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It will use the money for its LinkUS Mobility Initiative for the development of high-capacity transit corridors; investments in smart mobility options such as first/mile last mile service; and enhanced bus service with increased frequency, USDOT reported.

The grant was one of five awards totaling $4.8 million awarded under the RIA program.

In a news release, USDOT said the program seeks to help accelerate transportation project delivery through project planning, studies and analysis, and preliminary engineering and design work.

This is the second round of the RIA program awards with the first five having been announced in September 2021.

In that round of funding, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency in Cleveland received $295,000 for an intermodal facility; airport access improvement; road improvement to a healthcare facility; and a pedestrian connection.

Grant to Improve Amtrak’s Michigan Line

August 22, 2022

The Federal Railroad Administration announced last week that it has awarded more than $233 million in grants for infrastructure improvements to Amtrak routes.

The funding came from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program.

Most of the projects are located along the Northeast Corridor, but funding also will pay for projects in Michigan and California.

In Michigan up to $1.6 million was awarded for reconstruction of five deficient bridges on the state-owned rail line between Kalamazoo and Dearborn used by Amtrak’s Wolverine Service and Blue Water trains. The work will improve reliability, increase load ratings, and avoid future bridge closures.

Michigan Rail Project Gets RAISE Grant

August 12, 2022

A Michigan rail project is among 23 freight and passenger rail projects in 17 states that have received a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant.

The U.S. Department of Transportation named the grant recipients this week that will share the $2.2 billion in funding being awarded in federal fiscal year 2022.

Altogether USDOT awarded grants for 166 projects, which were evaluated for how they met the objectives of safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness and opportunity, partnership and collaboration, innovation, state of good repair, and mobility and community connectivity.

The Northern Michigan Rail Planning Phase II Study and Service development plan received a $1.3 million grant.

The funding is to be used to develop a plan that considers new train services through 15 counties between southeast Michigan and northern lower Michigan.

Grade Crossing Elimination Program Launched

July 1, 2022

Federal transportation officials are making more than $573 million in grant funds available as part of a new Railroad Crossing Elimination Program.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a notice of funding opportunity for funding that is available in federal fiscal year 2022.

The program was created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act approved last fall.

That law provides $3 billion over five years to the grade crossing program to fund grade separation projects, such as overpasses and underpasses; closures; track relocations; and improvements to or installations of warning devices at crossings, if they are related to a separation or relocation project.

USDOT said grant applications will be reviewed by the Federal Railroad Administration “based on their potential to improve safety by eliminating crossings or improving existing highway-rail grade crossings; to increase access to emergency services; to reduce emissions; to provide economic benefit; and to hire locally, among other possible community enhancements,”