scratchyX1 wrote: ↑Thu Feb 11, 2021 12:11 pm
It occurs to me, how much has bright line, and Texas HSR spent in studies, compared to public sector projects?
Or is the the excessive studying to make it look like something is being done, instead of actually doing it?
They do the studies because the law requires it to receive any FTA funding grants. For those really interested, the latest FTA Act defining the process was passed in 2015, during the Obama's administration, was called the FAST Act.
Summary https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/gra ... r-fast-act
Legislation https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/BIL ... r22enr.pdf
Fact Sheets https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/gra ... r-fast-act
The FRA has many programs defining their own process, here is a list of most of them
https://railroads.dot.gov/grants-loans/ ... t-programs
Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grants (FY 2009 – 2020) Totals since 2017* = $3.8 billion
2020 $979 million, 2019 $877 million, 2018 $1471 million, 2017 $504 million (*I'm not going to sum up all 12 years*)
Capital Assistance to States – Intercity Passenger Rail Service Program (FY 2008) Total to date $30 million
High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (HSIPR) (FY 2008 – 2010) Total to date $10.5 billion
Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program (FY 2017 – 2020) Total to date $320 million
Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Grant Program (FY 2017 – 2020) Total to date $291 million
Infrastructure For Rebuilding America (FY 2017 – 2020) Total to date $5.5 billion
Magnetic Levitation Deployment Grants Program (FY 2015, FY 2019, and FY 2020) Total to date $78 million
Positive Train Control (PTC) Grant Program (FY 2017) Total to date $199 million
PTC Systems Grants under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program (FY 2018) Total to date $250 million
Rail Line Relocation & Improvement Capital Grant Program (RLR) Total to date $90 million
Railroad Rehabilitation & Repair (Disaster Assistance) (FY 2008) Total to date $20 million
Railroad Safety Grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products by Rail Grant Program FY 2015 Total to date $10 million
Railroad Safety Infrastructure Improvement Grant Program (FY 2016) Total to date $25 million
Railroad Safety Technology Grants for PTC Program (FY 2010, FY 2014, and FY 2016) Total to date $86 million
Restoration and Enhancement Grant Program Total to date $26 million
And the FRA has two loan program as well.
Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA)
The TIFIA program provides credit assistance for qualified projects of regional and national significance. Many large-scale, surface transportation projects -- highway, transit, railroad, intermodal freight, and port access -- are eligible for assistance.
Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF)
Under this program, the FRA Administrator is authorized to provide direct loans and loan guarantees up to $35.0 billion to finance development of railroad infrastructure. Up to $7.0 billion is reserved for projects benefiting freight railroads other than Class I carriers.
Lots of FTA and FRA funding grants are being made each and every year, some are more successful jumping through the red tape than others. Let's take the Gateway Tunnels as an example, it is not refurbishing existing infrastructure as it is adding to what exists. Which FRA program can it apply for funds from successfully?
BUILD grants - This flexibility allows BUILD and our traditional partners at the State and local levels to work directly with a host of entities that own, operate, and maintain much of our transportation infrastructure, but otherwise cannot turn to the Federal government for support. Amtrak can turn to the Federal government for direct support, so it does not qualify..
Capital Assistance to States - Amtrak us not a state, plus $30 million will never cover the $15 billion new tunnels costs, so it does not apply.
Infrastructure For Rebuilding America - The Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects (NSFHP) program provides Federal financial assistance to highway and freight projects of national or regional significance. Gateway tunnels are not a highway or for freight railroad usage, so it does not apply.
Restoration and Enhancement Grant Program - This program funds operating assistance grants for initiating, restoring, or enhancing intercity passenger rail transportation. Looks promising, but building new infrastructure is not what it is for. so it does not apply.
Projects eligible for funding under this grant program include:
additional frequency of current service
offering new on-board services
establishing new service
extension of current service
restoration of previously operated service
So, no FRA program fits, so lets now look at the FTA programs. Because the costs are well above the new starts threshold, that is the only FTA program that applies, only because NJT uses it. Federal transit law requires transit agencies seeking CIG funding to complete a series of steps over several years. For New Starts and Core Capacity projects, the law requires completion of two phases in advance of receipt of a construction grant agreement – Project Development and Engineering. This is what Amtrak and NJT has been doing for a while.
Here's the link for the process.
https://www.transit.dot.gov/sites/fta.d ... 0_2016.pdf
The Gateway Tunnels keep getting poor rankings in the FTA matrix. It does not help that their will be few additional riders upon opening up the new tunnels, that housing in Midtown Manhattan near Penn Station are not low rent, that the state of good repair for the NEC, and specifically the North River Tunnels are not great, and on and on it fails what the FTA must judge the project by law.
So, that leaves the FRA loan programs as the last solution, or funding earmarked by new legislation specifically for it. Good luck!