Missouri was awarded $31 million for high-speed rail projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), a.k.a. “the stimulus.”
“We are very pleased. This is the best news we could have hoped for given the extreme competition for rail funding,” said Brian Weiler, director of Multimodal Operations at the Missouri Department of Transportation, in a press release. “We are excited to have funding for additional projects that will support jobs and carry on the momentum of building a faster and more reliable passenger and freight train service in Missouri and a stronger rail corridor across the Midwest.”
The recovery act funding will be used for three shovel-ready projects that will support approximately 190 direct jobs:
- A second rail bridge over the Osage River that will eliminate delays caused by a bottleneck, plus additional crossovers that will reduce maintenance flexibility;
- A universal crossover near the Kirkwood Amtrak station that will ease the flow of passenger train into and out of the St. Louis area; and
- Safety improvements at several rail crossings, primarily west of Sedalia.
It will also fund preliminary engineering on six future improvement projects worth approximately $100 million, including double tracks between Lee’s Summit and Pleasant Hill, a passing siding at Kingsville, a grade separation at Strasburg, a passing siding extension at Knob Noster and universal crossovers – a device that allows trains to crossover to another track in either direction – at Bonnots Mill and Hermann.
Missouri’s success was part of a larger Midwest regional effort that, as a whole, captured $2.6 billion of the $8 billion in ARRA funds available for high-speed rail corridor improvements. The state consortium, known as the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, is involved in an ongoing effort to develop and expand access to an improved passenger rail system in the Midwest. Besides Missouri, other participating states are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Nebraska and Wisconsin.