Amtrak To Own Tracks in Florida, and RIDOT Gets a Grant

The FRA has announced more than $326 million in Grants from the CRISI Program. Previously known was the up to $32,995,516 to the Southern Rail Commission which combines 20 Gulf projects in three states to assist efforts to establish two daily round trips between New Orleans and Mobile, AL. It also funds preliminary engineering and NEPA reviews needed to upgrade track between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. 

It also grants directly to Amtrak up to $3,850,000 to rehabilitate 52 miles of the CSX A-Line between Palatka and Deland Trains stations. Under the agreement CSX will transfer the renovated track’s ownership to Amtrak. This would have implications for any new service between NY, Chicago or New Orleans to Miami. This route is currently being served by the Silver Meteor and Silver Starvation as well as the route of the Auto Train.

Other projects of interest :

Up to $2.8 million to RIDOT to complete preliminary engineering and NEP for a new Amtrak stop at TF Green Airport. There is currently an MBTA stop on the west side of the line with a long high level platform that would be suitable for Amtrak regional trains to stop at. The project as currently envisioned would construct another high level platform on the east side of the tracks along with a 4th set of tracks connecting to it, electrification of both the MBTA siding and the new siding and a waiting room probably located above the existing tracks. Additional parking for rail patrons could be constructed since the current garage for the MBTA patrons does not allow for overnight parking.