Fed Grants Milwaukee-Chicago Rail $31.8m to Double Passenger Transport

The grant will fund improvements to double passenger transport and improve freight efficiency.

Source : WisDOT

March 9, 2022

Author : Alex Bustillos

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) announced on Wednesday a federal grant worth $31.8 million for “station and rail segment improvements to double passenger rail service and increase freight efficiency along the corridor that connects the Twin Cities,  La Crosse, Milwaukee and Chicago.”

According to the press release, the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago (TCMC) Intercity Passenger Rail Project will provide an additional daily passenger rail round-trip on the corridor, which also hosts Amtrak Empire Builder and the Hiawatha Service Trains. Coming in 2024 “or sooner,” the TCMC will help decrease congestion and modernize track sections to help get freight where it’s going faster.

“This vital rail project came together because the federal government not only recognized its importance to the region but the extraordinary collaboration among states, local economic groups and freight and passenger rail," WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said.

“The team effort we are celebrating today brings us a stronger and more diverse transportation infrastructure that strengthens supply chains, connects businesses and universities, and brings us all closer together with more travel options,” Thompson added.

Interim MnDOT Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger said that her department is “excited about the tremendous benefits that this project will deliver to Minnesotans, including all who work, play, travel or attend a higher education institution along this corridor. This grant is an important piece in our shared goals to enhance our regional economies, from the Twin Cities metro area to our thriving small towns in Greater Minnesota."

FRA Administrator Amit Bose was also excited about the grant funding to the project and noted that the program that made the grant possible will be receiving even more funds down the road from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. “This funding means even more opportunities like this one to advance transformational rail projects going forward,” Bose said.

The corridor spans 411 miles between St. Paul and Chicago. Once serviced by two daily round trips, the project is expected to serve more than 124,000 riders in its first year. 

Additionally, it’s expected to pay for itself, saving $34.7 million in freight costs over the course of 30 years. “Grade crossing improvements will reduce gate-down times, and capacity improvements increase efficiency,” the press release states.

Category : Department of Transportation Federal Government Investment in Infrastructure State Government Railroads

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