The Federal Railroad Administration established a new Corridor Identification and Development program on May 13 to create a “pipeline of projects” ready for funding from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA enacted in November 2021.
[Above photo by Amtrak]
“The Corridor ID program will help expand intercity passenger rail service beyond the Northeast Corridor,” explained FRA Administrator Amit Bose in a statement, adding that his agency expects to submit a report to Congress on the program and its project pipeline within a year.
FRA added that a request for proposal in February gained input from rail transportation stakeholders on how to best facilitate the development of intercity passenger rail corridors, which the new Corridor ID program will incorporate.
While the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials supports the FRA’s effort to establish this new Corridor ID program, in a letter sent to the agency on March 8, AASHTO emphasized that state departments of transportation and state-designated rail entities should be the agency’s “primary partners” in establishing new passenger rail corridors.
“Given the existing [state DOT] role in managing rail systems, [they] should lead in the development of the pipeline of projects that will serve local and regional communities while fitting within an effective planning program,” AASHTO said in its letter.
The agency now plans to solicit formal proposals for the program within this calendar year, selecting corridors for participation in the program based on readiness to commence development and statutory criteria. For each selected proposal, FRA will work with the entity that submitted the proposal, the relevant states, and, as appropriate, Amtrak to prepare or update a service development plan.
“The Corridor ID Program will strengthen the partnerships and project pipeline necessary to reshape America’s passenger rail network for generations to come,” Bose said.