California, Connecticut, New Jersey Win $172.1MM in SOGR Grants

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded grants to California’s North County Transit District (NCTD; $9.8 million), the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and Amtrak ($144 million), and New Jersey Transit ($18.3 million) under the FY 2020 Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair program.

The $291.4 million grant program supports capital projects that repair, replace or rehabilitate qualified railroad assets to reduce the state of good repair backlog and improve intercity passenger rail performance.

At NCTD, the grant—along with a match of $9.8 million in state and local funding—will help upgrade regional/commuter train and crossing control systems to “improve signal reliability, reduce train delays, and enhance safety for passenger and freight services.” The project, which will be ready for bid by mid-2021, will advance the San Diego Next Generation and Grade Crossing Modernization Project, which is updating signaling and Positive Train Control systems along the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN) rail corridor.

“This grant builds on our efforts to increase passenger and freight train frequencies to support mobility, economic and environmental goals,” said Tony Kranz, NCTD Board Chair and Council Member for the City of Encinitas.

CTDOT and Amtrak’s grant will help fund two bridge replacement projects along the Northeast Corridor. With a $79.7 million grant, the existing movable Norwalk (Walk) River Bridge, built in 1896, will be replaced with two independent two-track vertical lift rail bridges in Norwalk. The project also includes supporting work on bridge approach embankments and retaining walls, installation of new catenary structures, and signal system upgrades. Amtrak and MTA Metro-North New Haven Line commuter rail operate over the bridge.

The 113-year-old Connecticut River Bridge between Old Lyme and Old Saybrook will be replaced with a new moveable bridge using a $65.2 million grant. The replacement bridge will maintain the two-track configuration and existing channel location, and provide a bascule moveable span with additional vertical clearance for maritime traffic. Amtrak and CTDOT Shore Line East commuter rail operate over the bridge.

NJ Transit’s grant will go toward upgrades at the Trenton Transit Center (see station map below). The transit center, which is on the Northeast Corridor, serves NJ Transit commuter rail and River Line light rail, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) Trenton Line Regional Rail, and 11 Amtrak intercity rail lines. NJ Transit and Amtrak will contribute some $7.1 million and $1.6 million, respectively, to complete the project, which will help facilitate future service expansion.

The project will rehabilitate the station’s two island platforms, including the restoration of platform canopies; the replacement of wooden platform sections with a concrete surface; addition of new tactile strips and rub rails; reconstruction of platform deck joints; and repair of concrete spalls. It will also construct an American with Disabilities Act (ADA)-accessible high-level platform with an elevator from the concourse level. 

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