U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced that states will now be directly eligible for federal funding to support intercity passenger rail service under a new grant program.
Peters explained that the $30 million capital grant program is designed to support state efforts to improve intercity passenger rail service and requires a 50-50 funding match like most other transportation investments.
Projects that demonstrate an on-time performance standard of 80 percent or greater, reduce travel time, increase service frequency, or enhance service quality for intercity rail passengers will receive favorable consideration for funding, she said.
Eligible projects include, but are not limited to: upgrading existing track to permit higher maximum operating speeds, adding or lengthening passing tracks to increase rail line capacity, improving track switches and signaling systems to advance reliability and safety, and purchasing new passenger rail cars to enhance the travel experience.
The Federal Railroad Administration is administering the program and will begin accepting applications on March 18, 2008, with the expectation that awards will be made later this year. The full Notice of Funding Availability can be found at www.fra.dot.gov.