U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood, Governor Doyle Sign Agreement for $46.5 Million for Wisconsin High-Speed Rail

WASHINGTON — U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle have signed an agreement providing $46.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for work to continue on the state’s aggressive high-speed rail program. The funding is the latest installment from the $822 million that President Obama announced for Wisconsin high-speed rail from the Recovery Act in January. Wisconsin previously received a $5.7 million Recovery Act grant that brings their high-speed rail total to $52.2 million. Nationally, an unprecedented $8 billion down payment for the creation of a national network of interconnected high-speed rail corridors was included

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces $300 Million for Denver Union Station Redevelopment

DENVER – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced that the Denver Union Station project will receive just over $300 million in federal loans through an unprecedented and historic innovative financing arrangement using the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program and the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program. The project is funded with a unique financing structure and for the first time combines credit assistance from both programs. The loans are being awarded to the Denver Union Station Project Authority (DUSPA), a non-profit, public benefit entity formed by the city in July 2008,

New Rule Strengthens Railroad Bridge Safety Programs, Oversight

WASHINGTON — Federal Railroad Administrator (FRA) Joseph Szabo has announced a Final Rule requiring railroad track owners to adopt and follow specific procedures to protect the safety of their bridges, and to strengthen federal oversight of railroad bridge maintenance programs. This rule is a requirement under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. “This Final Rule will help ensure the 100,000 railroad bridges in the United States are maintained and inspected to the standards accepted by sound engineering practices,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The structural integrity of bridges that carry railroad tracks is vitally important to the safety of

High Speed Rail Moves Forward: Federal Railroad Administration Seeks Applications for $2.3 Billion in High-Speed Rail Grants

WASHINGTON — The Obama Administration has taken the next step toward realizing its vision for high-speed rail in the United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will begin accepting applications for $2.1 billion in grants to continue the development of high-speed intercity passenger rail corridors. In addition, FRA will make another $245 million available for individual construction projects within a corridor. Funds for both come from the FY 2010 DOT Appropriations Act. “This important step builds on the $8 billion for high-speed rail that President Obama announced last January,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The President’s

Ten States Required to Develop Grade Crossing Action Plans

WASHINGTON — Ten states with the most highway-rail grade crossing collisions will be required to develop action plans to reduce the number of accidents. A Final Rule issued by the Federal Railroad Administration requires Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas to identify specific solutions for improving safety at crossings, including highway-rail grade crossing closures or grade separations, and must focus on crossings that have experienced multiple accidents or are at high risk for such accidents. This rulemaking is required under the Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2008. Nationwide, there were 2,772 highway-rail crossing accidents in

FRA Begins New Research Project on the Impact of Traumatic Stress on Train Crews

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) invites qualified researchers to apply for $50,000 in grant funding to initiate a study of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Acute Distress Disorder (ASD), conditions which are frequently suffered by train crews after being involved in collisions at highway-rail grade crossings or trespass incidents involving pedestrians, the two leading causes of fatalities in the railroad industry. Given the size and weight of trains, crews are often unable to stop their trains fast enough to avert these types of incidents, which can lead to psychological trauma for those involved. The selected individual or

Amtrak Apologizes to MARC Passengers

WASHINGTON – On June 21, MARC Train 538 lost power soon after leaving Washington Union Station, resulting in loss of air conditioning and “uncomfortable conditions for passengers” who waited about two hours for a resolution. “On behalf of Amtrak, I extend my most sincere apologies to the passengers of Train 538 for having to withstand unacceptable conditions and inconveniences during this service disruption,” President and CEO Joseph Boardman said. “We fell short of providing the service we strive to deliver. “In conjunction with the Maryland Transit Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration we are conducting a thorough investigation of the

Amtrak: National Rail Plan Needs to Recognize the Value of Amtrak’s Intercity Passenger Rail Network

WASHINGTON – Amtrak is urging the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to be bold and unambiguous in its vision for the future of the national rail system, including the Amtrak network, as it develops a long-range National Rail Plan (NRP). “Amtrak’s existing national intercity passenger rail system should be recognized in the NRP as the foundation for the development of an expanded network of high-speed and conventional rail services spanning key corridors across the United States,” said Amtrak Vice President, Policy and Development Stephen Gardner. Gardner explained that Amtrak is America’s intercity passenger railroad and the only high-speed rail service provider

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