Railway Age Announces 2021 ‘Fast Trackers’ 20 Under 40 Honorees

Railway Age is honoring 20 “Fast Trackers” from a pool of more than 100 strong nominations for this year’s 20 Under 40 awards program.

Five stations are planned for SEPTA’s 3.5-mile King of Prussia rail extension, including the First and Moore/Valley Forge Station (rendering above).

SEPTA Advancing King of Prussia Rail Extension

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued a combined Final Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision (FEIS/ROD) permitting Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) to continue design and construction of the 3.5-mile, five-station King of Prussia (Pa.) Rail extension of the Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL).

Gov. Cuomo’s plan includes reconstruction of the existing Penn Station (rendering above) and acquisition of property south of the station to expand it and construct eight additional tracks, increasing train capacity by 40%.

N.Y. Governor Outlines $306B Infrastructure Plan

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed $306 billion in infrastructure improvements as part of his 2021 agenda.

President-elect Biden's first step in rescue and recovery is the American Rescue Plan, which tackles the pandemic and includes transit investment. The next—his Build Back Better Recovery Plan, to be introduced next month—will “make historic investments in infrastructure and manufacturing, innovation, research and development, and clean energy.”

Biden: $20B for ‘Hardest Hit’ Public Transit Agencies

President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan on Jan. 14 that includes a $20 billion investment to “protect the future of transit.”

Dr. Allan M. Zarembski is Research Professor and Director of the Railroad Engineering and Safety Program at the University of Delaware, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Now Enrolling: UD Graduate Certificate in Railroad Engineering Program

The University of Delaware (UD) is accepting applications for its Graduate Certificate in Railroad Engineering program, 2021-22 academic year. Professionals and engineering graduates may enroll; GREs (Graduate Record Examinations) are not required.

Receiving CARSI grants are: Metrolink operator Southern California Regional Rail Authority ($14,771,250); Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority ($1,000,000); New York State Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Transportation Authority and MTA Metro-North Railroad ($19,728,000); Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority ($3,335,000); and Washington state’s Sound Transit ($1,421,500).

USDOT Awards $40.26MM for Commuter Rail Grade Crossing Improvements

Five commuter rail agencies will receive a total of $40.26 million in grants for highway/rail grade crossing improvements from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The awards are part of round one of the Commuter Authority Rail Safety Improvement (CARSI) Grants Program.

Metra’s initial order will be for 200 cars, with an option for up to 300 more. Total price tag: $1.8 billion.

Metra Orders Alstom Multi-Levels

The Metra Board of Directors has approved the purchase of up to 500 multi-level commuter railcars from Alstom to replace aging bi-level gallery cars.

Between now and 2039, nearly $13 trillion will be needed for rail, transit, highways, bridges, drinking water, stormwater, wastewater, electricity, airports, seaports and inland waterways. But if the U.S. keeps pace with planned spending—currently totaling $7.3 trillion—it will face a $5.6 trillion investment gap by 2039, the ASCE report found.

ASCE: ‘Close the Infrastructure Investment Gap’

Inadequate U.S. infrastructure improvements could lead to a decline of more than $23 trillion in business productivity and a loss of $10.3 trillion in GDP over the next two decades, according to a recently released American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) economic study.

Second in a Series: Complete Streets, Incomplete Transit

In my last report, I looked at Pete Buttigieg, President-elect Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Transportation, and what he would bring to the post. I looked at his own concepts as he expressed them in his acceptance speech, how he might serve USDOT’s business constituents, and his background. Part of that background is the time he spent as mayor of South Bend, a post he occupied starting in 2012. As I will describe in this article, he can claim some credit as an urbanist with his “Smart Streets” policy for the city’s downtown area, but local bus service remains limited, and the passenger trains that ostensibly run to South Bend do not go anywhere near downtown.

Acting Secretary of Transportation Steven G. Bradbury

Bradbury Acting U.S. SEC DOT

Following Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s resignation, effective Jan. 11, Steven G. Bradbury is Acting Secretary of Transportation in accordance with the Department’s established order of succession.