Padilla, Feinstein Announce Nearly $300 Million in Rail Grants for California
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein (both D-Calif.) announced six grants have been awarded to California rail projects by the Department of Transportation totaling $290 million. The grants are part of the Department of Transportation’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program, which funds projects to improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has nearly tripled funding for this program — with $5 billion available from 2022 to 2026.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering hundreds of millions of dollars to make rail more efficient and safer for Californians,” said Senator Padilla. “We must continue to build out and modernize our rail networks to help lower our carbon emissions, create jobs, and keep commuters and goods moving across California. This is also an important federal investment in California High Speed Rail — the United States deserves world-class high-speed rail, but it will require federal, state, and local governments working together to make it happen. I’m proud to see the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continue to deliver major wins for California, connecting our communities and uplifting our economy.”
“These awards of more than $290 million are a much-needed investment in California’s rail systems and will help increase rail safety, lower transit congestion and reduce the impact on our climate. This is a critical investment in our state’s efforts to lead the way in creating better and cleaner transit systems,” said Senator Feinstein.
Projects awarded by the Department of Transportation include:
- California High-Speed Rail Authority: $201.95 million. This project involves final design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction activities for improvements to six grade crossings and track-related improvements. In an area where Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway’s existing main line and the CHSRA’s future rail line parallel each other, the project will remove seven at-grade crossings and convert them to grade-separated crossings, closing one crossing, in a rural, disadvantaged community within the Central Valley. The project will also increase safety to freight rail and Amtrak San Joaquin’s trains, as well as improve traffic flows by eliminating encounters with blocked crossings, which will reduce delays to emergency vehicles and motorists, and non-motorized users.
- Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority: $42.51 million. This project involves project development, final design, and construction activities for various track-related and signal improvements, enhancements to certain grade crossings, one new bridge, trespassing prevention measures, and other related infrastructure within Union Pacific Railroad’s (UPRR) corridor. The project will directly benefit the Capitol Corridor passenger rail service from Sacramento, CA to Roseville, CA, allowing two additional daily round trips to operate on a new third main line which will preserve the capability and fluidity of UPRR’s main line.
- Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART): $31.89 million. This project involves final design and construction activities for the following components: 1) replacement of three older, higher emission, freight locomotives with lower emission, Tier 4 Environmental Protection Agency compliant freight locomotives; and 2) installation of a Positive Train Control (PTC) system on SMART’s corridor between Windsor, CA and Healdsburg, CA. The project will help expand SMART’s short line freight rail capacity while reducing the climate impacts of the freight rail services, as well as provide benefits to passenger rail commuter services through extension of SMART PTC systems across several grade crossings, allowing for return of rail services into rural, northern Sonoma County.
- Modesto and Empire Traction Company: $12.28 million. This project involves project development, final design, and construction activities to rehabilitate over multiple grade crossings (including associated workforce training), complete track improvements, and remanufacture two Tier 0 high polluting switching locomotives to become Tier 4 Environmental Protection Agency compliant. The project will improve the M&ET’s operating efficiency and safety, as well as reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
- Napa Valley Railroad: $2.06 million. This project involves final design and construction activities to replace seven highly polluting locomotives with three near-zero-emission locomotives. The project will allow Napa Valley Railroad to transport its passengers more efficiently with lowered fuel consumption, decrease the surrounding community’s exposure to harmful emissions, and it may aid with climate change mitigation.
- City of Riverside: $78,759. This project involves a safety program concerning trespass enforcement and education activities along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway in the city of Riverside. The city’s Public Safety Engagement Team Railroad Trespasser Reduction Task Force — comprised of the Riverside Police Department, the city’s Office of Homeless Solutions, and other city departments — will engage in a multi-faceted approach to decrease the number trespassing incidents in railroad rights-of-way from persons who are experiencing homelessness.