On track: Grant will fund 52 miles of railroad renovations
Multimillion-dollar renovations are on track to take place in the coming months on 52 miles of railroad tracks between Palatka and DeLand, a result of a federal grant program.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration announced this week that 45 projects in 29 states were awarded funding. The funding is administered through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program and the Special Transportation Circumstances Program.
“These investments in intercity passenger and freight rail will benefit surrounding communities, make grade crossings safer and improve service reliability,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a statement.
The project set to take place from Palatka to DeLand — dubbed the Amtrak Sanford Subdivision Infrastructure Renewal Project by the federal government — will receive up to $3,850,000 in federal funding. It is one of three projects in the state to have this funding approved.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, the stretch of railroad tracks, currently owned by CSX transportation, will also undergo an ownership change at the completion of the project.
“(The project) rehabilitates 52 miles of CSX Transportation’s A-Line (tracks) between Palatka and DeLand train stations in Florida,” the administration said. “CSX will transfer the renovated track’s ownership to Amtrak.”
Amtrak currently services Putnam County by operating the Union Station, Palatka’s train stop at Reid Street and N. 11th Street. It has done so for the last three decades.
The grant program was organized to ensure funding for state and local railroad infrastructure improvements. This year’s grants placed an emphasis on making these improvements in rural areas, with more than $118 million being awarded to rural projects.
“These are the partnerships that help rural and urban communities thrive economically,” said Ronald Batory, administrator for Federal Railroad Administration.
“The participation of multiple partners demonstrates the importance of these funds and tells us they will be a key asset in improving safety for communities and railroads around the country.”