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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

USDOT announces $906 million in INFRA grants

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao
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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) yesterday announced it intends to award $906 million in Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grants to 20 projects in 20 states.

Funding will be used to pay for projects that will improve highways, bridges, ports and railroads to better connect communities, enhance safety and support economic growth, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a press release.

Included in the proposed awards are:

  • $79.4 million to the Port of Houston Authority in Texas to restore and strengthen 2,700 linear feet of wharf and upgrade 84 acres of yard space at the Barbours Cut Container Terminal;
  • $40 million to Anoka County, Minnesota, to construct two new grade-separated county highway overpasses on U.S. Highway 10/169 and the parallel freight- and commuter-rail line;
  • $6.75 million to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to complete the last phase of the Merrimac Bridge rehabilitation to accommodate 28,600-pound rail cars at 25 mph on the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad's freight-rail bridge over Lake Wisconsin; and
  • $6.1 million to the Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority to upgrade an industrial park in Inola, Oklahoma, with new structures and rail, and construct a 3-mile rail spur connecting the park to the freight mainline.

Demand for the INFRA grants far exceeded available funds. USDOT evaluated 173 eligible applications from 47 states and the District of Columbia for a collective request of $7.4 billion in grant funds.

INFRA was established under the 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. As required under that law, Congress will have 60 days to review the USDOT's proposed project awardees. After the 60-day review, the department is free to begin obligating funding, department officials said.