Amtrak and Partners Receive Federal Grants to Improve and Expand Passenger Rail Across America

Amtrak and its partners have been awarded more than $2.1 billion to improve existing routes and advance plans to expand Amtrak service across the United States.

Multiple grants announced today will go directly to Amtrak; others will support existing and potential partners. This includes:

  • $108.5 million directly to Amtrak for station and service upgrades;
  • $2 billion to our partners in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maine for infrastructure upgrades that will directly benefit Amtrak customers and host railroads; and
  • $34.5 million to 39 states and localities for planning and development of 69 new and improved intercity passenger rail corridors, which Amtrak is primed to support

These grants were awarded through the Federal Railroad Administration’s Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program for projects located across the National Network, as well as the Corridor Identification and Development Program (Corridor ID).


This program provides funding for capital projects across the National Network that reduce the state of good repair backlog, improve performance, or expand or establish new intercity passenger rail service. Amtrak received three grants:

  • Chicago Union Station (CUS) Projects – (two grants totaling up to $93.6 million)

Chicago is the hub of Amtrak’s National Network. Every day, dozens of Long Distance and State Supported trains start or end their routes at CUS. Two separate grants will advance elements of the Chicago Hub Improvement Program (CHIP), Amtrak’s multi-phased project to revitalize CUS and revolutionize Midwest passenger rail.

These grants will help improve the customer experience for Amtrak and Metra customers by funding renovation and expansion of the station platforms, improving passenger access and capacity, bringing the platforms into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, and improving ventilation systems and air quality. This work also includes repurposing platforms designed for mail handling that have been unused since 2005, enabling their use for passengers and supporting long-term rail service expansion across the Midwest.

  • Malta, Mont. Corridor Operational Enhancement Project (up to $14.9 million)

This project will improve Empire Builder service by eliminating critical bottlenecks that cause delays and operational conflicts for freight and passenger trains. The work involves final design and construction activities for track, bridge, signal and other rail infrastructure improvements on BNSF tracks that Amtrak’s Long Distance service operates on in the Malta, Mont. area and at the Malta Amtrak Station.

In addition to these three grants, multiple partners also received funding through this program to upgrade tracks and bridges that Amtrak trains operate on, which will help to improve reliability and reduce travel times. Additionally, Amtrak congratulates Brightline West and the California High Speed Rail Authority for their successful grant applications to build high speed rail projects that will expand intercity rail options and could interface with Amtrak’s network in the future.

CORRIDOR ID PROGRAM (each award up to $500,000)

This comprehensive intercity passenger rail planning and development program created by the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act is designed to help guide intercity passenger rail development throughout the United States and create a pipeline of intercity passenger rail projects ready for implementation.

The FRA awarded grant funding to all four applications Amtrak submitted. Another 65 applications submitted by other entities also received funding. This funding could support development of a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for preparing, completing, or documenting related service development plans.

Amtrak-Led Grants

  • Texas High-Speed Rail Corridor

This proposed corridor would connect Dallas and Houston, Texas, with a new, dedicated and grade separated high-speed passenger rail service. This would provide new service on a new alignment, with station stops in Dallas, Brazos Valley and Houston.

  • Long Island Northeast Regional Extension

This proposed corridor would extend three existing daily Northeast Regional round trips between Washington, DC and New York City east to Ronkonkoma, NY, with stops at Jamaica (Queens, NY) and Hicksville, NY. This would entail track, station and infrastructure upgrades to accommodate these trains and better integrate Amtrak service with Long Island Rail Road commuter service.

  • Daily Cardinal Service

This proposed corridor would increase Cardinal service to operate daily, versus three days per week currently. This route operates between New York City and Chicago via Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

  • Daily Sunset Limited Service

This proposed corridor would increase Sunset Limited service to operate daily, versus three days per week currently. This route operates between Los Angeles and New Orleans via Houston, San Antonio and El Paso, Texas; Tucson, Ariz.; and other communities.

Other FRA Identified Corridors

Several of the 65 corridors submitted by other entities and selected by FRA will study improvements that would benefit existing State Supported, Long Distance and Northeast Regional services operated by Amtrak.

As America’s Railroad, Amtrak is uniquely positioned to support the proposed expansion of intercity passenger rail across the many corridors identified by the FRA. This includes more than 52 years of experience connecting communities across America, as well as strong teams dedicated to Network Planning, Capital Delivery and Service Delivery & Operations with employees located across the United States.

Earlier this year, the FRA also awarded Amtrak nearly $10 billion for 12 projects of national significance across America’s busiest rail corridor, and another nearly $200 million through the CRISI grant program.

-via Press Release

This article was posted on: December 11, 2023