WASHINGTON DC – The federal government announced Monday that it is providing more than $1.4 billion to projects that improve rail safety and increase capacity, with most of the money coming from the 2021 infrastructure bill.
“These projects will make America’s railroads safer, more reliable, and more resilient, bringing tangible benefits to many rail communities and strengthening supply chains throughout nation,” Transportation Secretary Pete said in a statement.
The money has funded 70 projects in 35 states and Washington, DC. Rail safety has become a major concern across the country since a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed and caught fire in East Palestine, Ohio, in February.
President Joe Biden ordered federal agencies to hold the train operator, Norfolk Southern, accountable for the accident, but a package of proposed rail safety reforms has stalled in the Senate, where the bill remains waiting for a vote. . The White House also admitted that a possible government shutdown by House Republicans would harm rail safety.
The projects include track modernization and bridge repairs, as well as improving the connection between the railways and making the routes less vulnerable to extreme weather conditions.
Among the projects is a $178.4 million project to restore passenger service to parts of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, along the Gulf of Mexico, for the first time since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.
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“This is an important milestone, representing years of efforts dedicated to reconnecting our communities after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina,” Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, said in a statement. “Restoring passenger rail service will create jobs, improve quality of life and provide a convenient travel option for tourists, contributing to economic growth and vitality in our region.”
The grant will help restore passenger service on the Gulf Coast after Amtrak reached an agreement in 2022 with railroad companies CSX and Norfolk Southern to clear the way for passenger trains to run. changing the railroads owned by the railroad freight companies.