FRA’s SOGR Grant AwardeesWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) is distributing $291 million in grants among 11 projects under its FY 2020 Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair (SOGR) Program.
The funding will support the repair, replacement or rehabilitation of publicly owned or controlled railroad assets. It has been made available from the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 ($198 million) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 ($93 million).
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the program in June.
Spanning nine states, the projects are:
- North County Transit District (California): Up to $9.8 million for the San Diego Next Generation Signaling and Grade Crossing Modernization project.
- Southern California Regional Rail Authority: Up to $31.8 million for the Pacific Surfliner Corridor Rehabilitation and Service Reliability project.
- Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT): Up to $79.7 million for the Walk Bridge Replacement project.
- Amtrak: Up to $65.2 million for the Connecticut River Bridge Replacement project.
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority: Up to $29.3 million for the Worcester (Massachusetts) Union Station Accessibility and Infrastructure Improvements project.
- Maryland Transit Administration: Up to $9.4 million for the MARC Northeast Corridor Train Storage Preservation Project.
- Michigan Department of Transportation: Up to $15.6 million for the Ypsilanti to Jackson Curve Modifications project.
- New Jersey Transit Corp.: Up to $18.3 million for the Trenton Transit Center Station Improvements project.
- New York State Department of Transportation: Up to $2 million for the Hudson Avenue Grade Crossing Rehabilitation and Safety Improvements project.
- Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority: Up to $15.9 million for the Harrisburg Line Signal System Renewal: Paoli to Overbrook project.
- Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation: Up to $14.4 million for the Newington Road Bridge Replacement project.
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“These investments have proven vital during this challenging year and kept essential supplies moving throughout our nation, and these State of Good Repair grants will continue those improvements and enhance passenger rail service to ready the nation for the forthcoming recovery,” FRA Administrator Ronald Batory said.
In a briefing with Railway Age, Railway Track & Structures and other media outlets, Batory noted that “it’s not about how much money you spend. It’s about how wisely you spend it. These major grants essentially complete the FRA’s $2.1 billion federal fiscal year 2020 Competitive Discretionary programs, SOGR and CRISI (Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements) in particular.”
Batory, who spent 44 years in railroad operations and management (most recently as President and COO of Conrail Shared Assets LLC) before becoming Federal Railroad Administrator, said that throughout his career, he had become familiar with many of the project locations receiving grant money and “can appreciate their importance.” Under his watch, FRA’s grant application approval process was streamlined and shortened considerably, with decisions typically occurring within three to five months, as opposed to 18 to 24.
Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono and RT&S Managing Editor David Lester contributed to this story.