The grant would be used to fund signal and crossing upgrades along the BNSF tracks between Newton and the Kansas/Oklahoma state line. The upgrades will be needed for potential passenger rail service between Oklahoma City and Kansas City. The FRA hasn't set a date for announcing awards, Kaufman said.
This is the third grant application KDOT submitted to support passenger rail in Kansas. The first application was for $7.6 million for track improvements on the Southwest Chief route between Emporia and Barclay using ARRA funds. The improvements will permit the Southwest Chief to increase its average operating speed in that section.
The second application was for a $500,000 project to prepare a service development plan for potential intercity passenger rail service between Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Fort Worth. This grant wouldn't use ARRA funds and requires a 50 percent state match, according to Kaufman.
KDOT committed $250,000 toward the total project cost, of which the Oklahoma Department of Transportation committed up to $125,000. A service development plan is a detailed, comprehensive business and operations plan for implementing passenger rail service. The Plan will be required for applicants to receive potential future federal funding for capital to implement passenger rail service.
The final applications are available on the KDOT Passenger Rail website at www.ksdot.org/passrail.