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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced more than $22 million in grant funding to three passenger-rail projects that collectively span eight states.
The grants will help fund an expansion of Amtrak's Empire Builder service between Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago; the CTrail Service in Connecticut; and restoration of service along the Gulf Coast.
Provided through the FRA's Restoration and Enhancement Grants Program, the funding is aimed at projects to "initiate, restore or enhance intercity passenger-rail service around the country," FRA officials said in a press release.
"This funding will make a significant contribution to passenger rail-related operating assistance programs in our communities and ultimately make a big difference in people's lives," said FRA Administrator Ronald Batory.
The awards include a $5.45 million grant to the Southern Rail Commission for a project to restore passenger-rail service along the Gulf Coast. That award was announced earlier this week.
The other two grant awards are as follows:• $12,569,200 to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago Intercity Passenger-Rail Service Project. The project calls for adding a second daily roundtrip train between Union Depot in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Union Station in Chicago. The endpoints now are served along Amtrak's Empire Builder long distance service. The additional train will provide riders with more reliable service at convenient times between St. Paul and Chicago. The proposed service will make 12 station stops in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois.• $4,395,616 to the Connecticut Department of Transportation for the CTrail-Hartford Line Rail Enhancement Project. That project calls for two additional weekday trains between New Haven, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts, on the CTrail service, which began operations in June 2018. The enhanced serve will allow for more connections with MTA Metro-North Railroad and Amtrak trains.