Gilbert B Norman wrote: ↑Thu Jul 29, 2021 6:43 am OK volks, I'm sure all concerned know that a "bipartisan deal" has been reached in the Senate to appropriate $1T for infrastructureThe $66 Billion or so designated for railroads is going to be spent on projects already in the EIS planning pipeline.
The Times reports that if the T is enacted, Amtrak can expect to be looking at $66B, or 6.6%. No Fair Use quotation as the article only mentions this tangentially.
Now how does it get spent wisely?
I'm not sure if $66B, considering the pressures there will be to "spread it around", will be enough for the Gateway Tunnels, which to me is the top priority Amtrak infrastructure project.
(A) The Federal share of the $30 Billion Gateway Project, which includes building new tunnels, repairing old tunnels, building new bridges, building new tracks, and expanding NY's Pennsylvania Station. Off hand I would suggest $15 Billion at a minimum as the Federal share. But that could soar even higher as the 50-25-25 share has only been agreed to by US, NY, and NJ for specifically the Gateway Tunnels, just $12 Billion of the total $30 Billion. For all we know, that could be 6 Billion + 18 Billion as the final Federal share, it is not set in stone the Federal share will be limited to 50% of the remainder of the overall plan. Now if it was set in stone at 50%, the entire Gateway Projects will probably eat $15 Billion of the $66 Billion bipartisan deal.
(B) The Federal share of the new $4 Billion Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, presently limited to building two new tunnels and refurbishing two existing tunnels - but with extra infrastructure cash could turn into building all four new tunnels and retiring the two existing tunnels. I could not find any cost sharing agreement between the Amtrak and MARC, as funding has not been finalized. Is it safe to assume the Federal share will be just $2 Billion?
(C) The Susquehanna River Rail Bridge replacement, latest projection assumes costs up to $2 Billion. Whereas the design has not been finalized, so neither is its cost, the EIS is competed with a finding of no significant impact. All this project needs is funding to finish it.
(D) Connecticut River Bridge replacement, $400 Million is the latest cost estimation. Is in final design process that is scheduled to be completed in 2022, with bridge constructed and ready for operations by 2030. Amtrak could probably pay for it from its own finances, but they will take advantage of this free money.
(E) East River Rehabilitations. Four tunnels Amtrak would love to rehabilitate completely one at a time. While the costs to do each tunnel is not significant, it is still more than what Amtrak's small budget allows. Never-the-less, the costs for doing all four tunnels adds up. Expect a Billion or so being spent on them.
(F) Bush River and Gunpowder River Bridge replacements. Feasibility studies underway, EIS process initiation awaiting feasibility study completions. No cost estimations to date.
(G) Getting the rest of the $33 Billion NEC backlog to "state of good repair" finished. Not individual capital projects, but operations and maintenance backlogs Amtrak will surely wish to spend. You do not need EIS studies to repair what already exists.
What I'm suggesting is that Amtrak NEC by itself can consume half of that $66 Billion, before we even start discussing new trains to new cities or more trains to existing cities.
Getting what you have already into tip-top shape is the wisest way to spend your money.