Rail ridership on the rise as FRA preparing $66B for expansion
Washington, D.C. – Rail passengers are returning as travel demand recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, but freight train interference continues to stymie on-time trains, according to a quarterly report on intercity passenger rail.
Amtrak – Northeast Regional
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) published its report on the performance and service quality for the fourth quarter of FY 2021 that shows Amtrak ridership grew by 48 percent from the third quarter of FY 2021 to the fourth quarter for a total of more than 5.16 million passengers in the fourth quarter.
Amtrak trains experienced more than 1.2 million minutes of delay during the fourth quarter of FY 2021, up 37 percent from the previous quarter. The largest cause of delays was freight train interference – a 22 percent of total delay minutes, an increase of 36 percent from the previous quarter.
FRA is preparing to implement $66 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to support rail expansion that allows for smoother and more efficient rail operations. Included in that figure is $22 billion to Amtrak to eliminate the maintenance backlog and modernize the Northeast Corridor.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also bolsters FRA’s competitive discretionary grant programs, which will allow FRA to directly support passenger rail projects for communities and states around the country.
For example, the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program will receive $43.5 billion in advanced appropriations over five years to support intercity transportation projects both on and outside of the Northeast Corridor.
In addition, newly introduced funding opportunities such as the Corridor Identification and Development program will identify new and enhanced intercity passenger rail corridors and develop the necessary service planning elements.