Rail Grant Funding: Are You Ready to Capitalize?
By: Jeff Jones, Rail Department Manager
Burns & McDonnell
These are unprecedented times for the rail industry. Never before has so much federal funding been available from so many sources. This funding is available for public entities, port authorities, railroads and private companies to improve the nation’s infrastructure.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law:
On Nov. 15, 2021, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which directly impacted the freight and intercity passenger rail sector. This law includes $102 billion in total rail funding for fiscal years 2022 through 2026, consisting of $66 billion in advanced appropriations and another $36 billion in authorized funding, which Congress must later appropriate before it can be spent. This investment is to improve the lives of Americans by creating well-paying jobs and enhancing the nation’s rail network safety, reliability and sustainability.
The BIL calls for improving transportation options for Americans, reducing greenhouse emissions, and upgrading airports and ports to strengthen domestic supply chains. It also makes the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak and aims to make the nation’s infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change, cyberattacks and extreme weather events.
Additional funding opportunities were included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which focuses on equity across sectors such as clean energy and healthcare.
The BIL and other grant mechanisms offer grant opportunities focused on improving aging infrastructure and safety, innovating new technology solutions, and furthering environmental justice efforts around zero-emissions and decarbonization. The following is an overview of funding opportunities that have the potential to benefit the rail industry significantly.