California-The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) is conducting a feasibility study to identify and evaluate a range of high-capacity rail transit alternatives between the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles International Airport. In addition to the study, which began in December 2017, Metro is hosting a series of community meetings to solicit input. The study is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2019 and will be the basis for future environmental analysis.
The route proposed for the project experiences heavy travel with more than 400,000 people a day traveling through the area. Funding will come from Measure M, a transportation sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2016. The project will receive $9.8 billion from this sales tax funding. The LA Metro wants to expedite the project through a public-private partnership. The first stage of the project is expected to open in 2033, however, the goal is to have it open for the 2028 Summer Olympics.
Michigan- Michigan has launched an $8 million grant program for ride-sharing companies, automakers, transit agencies and advocacy groups to develop new mobility options for seniors, handicapped residents and military veterans. The state has issued a request for bids that is due by July 6. The first round of winning bidders will have 60 days to launch innovative pilot programs. The funding for the pilot program comes from the supplemental spending bill Gov. Rick Snyder signed in March which includes $175 million in extra roads and transportation funding, including $15 million the state could use on next-generation connected vehicle projects, hydrogen fueling stations and ride-sharing pilot projects.
The state plans to award grants to projects of various sizes based on submissions and proposed service areas. They’ll be used to subsidize a portion of costs to plan, implement and monitor the pilot projects for three to six months. The state expects to fund projects in urban, rural and suburban communities in coordination with current services.
Pennsylvania- Some major projects have the potential to improve Philadelphia’s infrastructure. Amtrak is in search of a master developer to take on a $6.5 billion project to transform both 30th Street Station and the surrounding area into an innovative transportation hub and mixed-use neighborhood. Creating more public space and addressing traffic issues will be other planned changes directly involving the 30th Street Station.
A feasibility study is underway to extend the Broad Street subway line from the final stop at the stadiums to the Navy Yard. The study results are expected to be released this year. The estimated $500 million project could turn the Navy Yard campus into a livable place with housing. Another project is the capping of Interstate 95 and Penn’s Landing.
A $225 million project will put a park over the interstate between Chestnut and Walnut streets, and slope down over Penn’s Landing, which is currently a heavy-concrete public space on the Delaware River. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is waiting for an environmental impact study on an effort to connect King of Prussia rail
(KOP) with the Norris High Speed Line. The KOP could see an operational train by 2025.
Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that included funding for Amtrak, rail and transit programs and $500 million for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. The bill allows state departments of transportation and transit agencies access to this year’s funding increases that Congress had approved and set aside money for in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. That means about $400 million is available for transit programs and $1 billion is available for highway programs.
The bill also increases funding for the Federal Railroad Administration by $173 million to $1.85 billion. The bill also includes $98 million in rail grants to support positive train control implementation, make railroad infrastructure improvements and improve passenger-rail service. An additional $328 million will be given to Amtrak for the Northeast Corridor and $1.17 billion for its national network. The bill also allocates $258 million for rail safety and research programs. The Federal Transit Administration will receive $12.4 billion, $9.7 billion of which will be for transit formula grants from the Highway Trust Fund. The measure provides $2.4 billion for Capital Investment Grants known as “New Starts,” which funds all current Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) transit projects and provides support for new projects anticipated to receive FFGA awards.
The spending generally presents good opportunities for the railroad industry according to the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association. Not only are current transit projects receiving funding with existing FFGAs, future projects across the nation could receive funding if new FFGAs are signed. Possible funding includes $125 million for the Maryland Purple Line, $100 million for Caltrain electrification, $100 million for Seattle’s Lynnwood Link, $84 million for New York City Transit’s Canarsie power improvements, $50 million for the Santa Ana streetcar program, $49 million for the Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s core capacity project and $10 million for the Minneapolis Southwest light rail transit project.
The legislation also sets aside $408 million for 10 “small start” projects such as streetcar projects in Tempe, Sacramento, Fort Lauderdale, and Seattle. Also in the bill is $150 million for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and $199 million for positive train control funding for commuter railroads that was authorized under the FAST Act.