Wednesday, June 20, 2012

TIGER IV grants offer modest rail money

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The federal government Wednesday announced its distribution of TIGER IV (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) discretionary grants. While many "rail-related" projects were identified, some of those deal more with adjacent road access improvements or other intermodal aspects, and not rail-specific projects, the latter of which appear at first glance to have garnered a smaller percentage of the overall package than bestowed in previous TIGER grants.

Among the projects identified ahead of the official announcement—many through the offices of congressional representatives by press release—are two rail station rehabilitation projects. Sacramento, Calif., receives $15 million to restore the Sacramento Valley Station, while Rochester, N.Y., secured $15 million to construct the Rochester Intermodal Transportation Center, projected to cost $37.7 million, to replace a prototype "Amshack" that has been in place for decades.

Medford, Ore.-based Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad will be awarded $7 million to finance repairs needed to reopen the Siskiyou rail route, linking Medford and Weed, Calif. Total costs are estimated at $9.49 million, with the short line covering part of the expenditure.

SEPTA will receive $12.8 million for its Wayne Junction Substation and Infrastructure project.

Chicagoland's CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency) program receives $10.4 million addressing 15 local projects. Within Chicago itself, Chicago Transit Authority will receive $20 million ito be applied to CTA's 95th Street Terminal Improvement Project.

Washington State will receive $10 million for the North Spokane Corridor project, which includes plans to relocate 7.5 miles of BNSF right-of-way.

Ft. Lauderdale The Wave streetcarThe state of Vermont receives $7.9 million to finish infrastructure upgrades, including 19 miles of track improvement, from St. Albans to the Canadian border.

As for new rail starts, the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Wave Streetcar Project (depicted at left) was awarded $18 million to fund initial work for a proposed 2.7-mile streetcar route in the city's downtown.

The 2012 TIGER IV program received 703 grant applications requesting a total of about $10.2 billion, generated by all 50 states, various U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. The first three TIGER programs received nearly 2,250 applications requesting more than $95 billion.