Rail Projects Are Rolling Down the Line

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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Amtrak receives $200 million in CRISI grants.
David C. Lester

WASHINGTON – America is preparing to work on the railroad.

The American Journal of Transportation reported this week that there are many railroad infrastructure projects coming down the line due to the massive increase in federal funding for them.

Rail passenger service has always been touted as being much more energy efficient and environmentally friendly since supporters of the creation of Amtrak successfully lobbied for support back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Amtrak was created on May 1, 1971.

Added to the inherent environmental benefits of rail passenger service, the government has implemented increasingly strict emission standards for locomotives, significantly reducing the environmental impact of rail. Indeed, the Journal reports the International Energy said that “estimates [are] that green technology will spur a 100% increase in rail activity over the next thirty years.”

Nearly every form of passenger rail transportation, including intercity rail, commuter rail, heavy rail transit (like the systems MARTA and METRO in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., respectively), along with light rail, is targeted for infrastructure improvement projects.

The northeastern section of the U.S. will be a significant beneficiary of the rail passenger infrastructure funding. Nearly $9 billion has been allocated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to the region for work on projects targeting railroad track, tunnels, bridges and stations in this part of the country.

Other areas of the country are targeted for passenger rail infrastructure improvements, and many are requesting federal funding for rail projects.

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