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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Kansas, Pennsylvania seek ARRA funds


Count Kansas and Pennsylvania among the many states that applied for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds last week.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) submitted applications for $28.2 million in ARRA dollars to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to advance high-speed rail projects. The proceeds will help fund preliminary engineering work for four projects associated with the Keystone Corridor East between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. The work calls for upgrading track, signals and catenary, removing grade crossings and adding a third express track between Atglen and Paoli.

The ARRA monies also would help PennDOT fund a feasibility study on enhancing intercity passenger-rail service on the Keystone Corridor West between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Currently, one Amtrak train per day serves the corridor in each direction.

Meanwhile, the Kansas DOT submitted two grant applications totaling $8.1 million to the FRA for funding under the High Speed/Intercity Passenger Rail program.

The first application for $7.6 million would help fund track improvements on the Southwest Chief route between Emporia and Barclay to increase average train speeds.

The second application for $500,000 would help Kansas’ DOT prepare a service development plan for intercity passenger-rail service between Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Okla., and Fort Worth, Texas. The comprehensive business and operations plan is required to receive potential future federal funding to implement passenger-rail service.

The DOT also plans to submit a third application to the FRA by Oct. 2 seeking $10 million to upgrade signals and crossing between Newton and the Kansas/Oklahoma state line.