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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Politicians, railroads tout impending TIGER IV grants


The U.S. Department of Transportation soon will announce the recipients of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) IV program grants, for which the federal government has set aside a total of $500 million. In the meantime, several railroads and politicians have issued press releases touting successful grant applications.

• U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program will be awarded a $10.4 million TIGER IV grant to help complete a $370 million funding package of 15 Western Avenue corridor projects that are included in the 70-project CREATE program. The projects include new track and signal systems that will ease congestion among five freight railroads, Amtrak and Metra.

The funding package comprises $211 million from the state of Illinois, $136 million from the Class Is, $10.4 million from the TIGER IV program, $12 million from the Illinois Commerce Commission and $1 million from the city of Chicago. In addition, the state and Association of American Railroads recently reached an agreement through which the freight railroads increased their overall CREATE commitment by $155 million, increasing their total contribution to $325 million.

• The Vermont Agency of Transportation and New England Central Railroad announced they will receive a $7.9 million TIGER IV grant to help fund track upgrades between St. Albans, Vt., and Montreal. Grant proceeds will be used to install new welded rail, ties and ballast on 19 miles of track, and upgrade bridges to raise speeds to 40 mph for freight trains and 59 mph for passenger trains. In addition, the weight limit on the upgraded track will increase from 263,000 to 286,000 pounds per car.  The transportation department is providing $7 million and the railroad, $3 million for the project.

• U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced the Washington State Department of Transportation will receive a $10 million TIGER IV grant to help fund the relocation of 7.5 miles of BNSF Railway Co. mainline and switch spur tracks near the Freya Street interchange, and extension of an existing 5.5-mile bicycle/pedestrian trail more than one mile.

• U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.), and Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) announced the city of West Memphis, Ark., will receive a $10.9 million TIGER IV grant to expand rail infrastructure at the West Memphis Port. The project calls for strengthening existing rail to accommodate heavier cargo loads and extend an existing rail spur by 13,500 feet.

• U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) announced the city of Memphis, Tenn., will receive a $14.9 million TIGER IV grant for the Main Street to Main Street Multi-Modal Connector project, which calls for constructing a pathway or boardwalk on the 96-year-old Harahan Bridge that’s still used by trains.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/21/2012