Monday, July 30, 2012

Federal money to aid track projects in Alaska, Kentucky, fund UTCs

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded more than $12.6 million for Alaska and Kentucky infrastructure projects and will extend University Transportation Center (UTC) grants by one year.

USDOT awarded more than $11.5 million to the state of Kentucky to replace two deteriorating freight rail bridges that are located on a heavily-utilized rail line extending between Paducah, Ky., and Louisville, Ky. The funding is being provided under the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) III program and the total project cost is $14,447,775. The bridges are part of the Strategic Rail Corridor Network and Defense Connector Lines serving Fort Knox, Ky. The project will benefit base expansion, local industry, efficient and safe freight transportation and economic growth.

USDOT also awarded $1.1 million to the Alaska Railroad Corporation to realign and upgrade track at Milepost 142 of the Alaska Railroad, under the Federal Railroad Administration's Rail Line Relocation and Improvement program. The project will add a new road to provide better access for inspections and relocate and extend a maintenance spur track, thus mitigating the adverse effects of rail traffic on safety, motor vehicle traffic flow and community quality of life. Upgrades will also be made to road crossings to improve safety and to the mainline and siding crossings to improve motor vehicle drivability.

Additionally, the USDOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) will extend current UTC grants by one year. The 22 UTCs that were selected in January 2012 are currently using fiscal 2011 funds for their research. RITA will extend their existing grants for one year and award 2012 funds to these programs. In addition, under the recently enacted surface transportation reauthorization (MAP-21), RITA will hold a new UTC competition during fiscal 2013 and will provide funding through fiscal 2014, with selections and grant awards made no later than October 1, 2013. The UTC program, which began in 1987, awards grants to universities across the United States to advance state-of-the-art transportation research and develop the next generation of transportation professionals.

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