ICYMI: As Extreme House Republicans Barrel Towards Shutting Down the Government, Secretary Buttigieg Announces $1.4 Billion Investment in Rail Safety, Workers, and Supply Chains

USDOT
4 min readSep 28

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Washington, DC — This week, as extreme Republicans in the House move to shut down the government, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited a railway in Grand Island, Nebraska, where he announced $1.4 billion in investments from the Biden Administration headed to communities across the country to revitalize railways and improve supply chains.

The investments in rail will go to 70 projects across 35 states and the District of Columbia, all made possible thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The project that Secretary Buttigieg visited this week in Grand Island, NE will receive $15.2 million to upgrade railroad tracks and crossings and expand a railcar repair facility.

Secretary Buttigieg tours a rail maintenance facility in Grand Island, Nebraska, that will benefit from the CRISI investment

While visiting Grand Island, Secretary Buttigieg toured the rail facility that will benefit from the investment, met with workers at the facility as well as company leadership, and hosted a news conference to celebrate investments across the country.

Secretary Buttigieg speaks at a news conference with local and industry leaders

Nationwide, similar investments are being made to enhance rail safety and strengthen supply chains. This week, FRA Administrator Amit Bose was in Tennessee to announce more than 40 aging bridges along 10 short-line railroads that are being rehabilitated or replaced.

FRA Administrator Bose greets TN DOT Commissioner Butch Eley

In Washington state, $72.8 million is being invested in rural areas to improve tracks, allow for heavy rail cars, and upgrade crossings along a freight rail line vital to the wheat supply chain in the eastern part of the state. FRA Deputy Administrator Jennifer Mitchell joined local leaders to highlight how federal investments will allow for faster speeds and protect against threats of extreme weather and the increased likelihood of washouts in the area.

Elsewhere, in Kansas, USDOT is investing more than $15 million to upgrade eight locomotives from diesel engines to battery-powered electric engines, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the air quality in several communities these trains travel through.

It’s not just major metropolitan areas that are benefitting from these grants. More than two-thirds of the grants will benefit rural areas and small communities. And while the Biden Administration and Secretary Buttigieg are announcing projects to benefit communities and supply chains across the country, extreme House Republicans are focused on shutting down the government, which would directly harm work to improve our infrastructure.

See below to see what they’re saying about Secretary Buttigieg’s trip to Nebraska and CRISI grants:

SELECT MEDIA COVERAGE

KOLN/KGIN 10/11: Sec. Pete Buttigieg talks about major investment in Nebraska rail infrastructure

“We’re making these physical investments so that the condition of the railroads are safer but we’re also insisting that congress does its part and put in provisions like stronger tank cars so that they could withstand a problem if something happens, and stiffer fines so that we can hold those railroads accountable,” Buttigieg said.

WOWT 6 NEWS: White House, Pete Buttigieg announces more than $15 million in railroad funding for Nebraska

“We are extremely honored today,” said Grand Island Mayor Roger Steele. “Thank you for taking time to travel to our great state of Nebraska and especially to the city of Grand Island.”

“This is a railway that is clearly so important to businesses and agricultural producers near here, connecting them to other lines that connect them to the entire country,” said Sec. Buttigieg.

Lincoln Journal Star: Buttigieg visits Nebraska to discuss $15.2 million railroad grant

KLIN Radio: Sec. Pete Buttigieg Talks To KLIN News During Nebraska Visit

“We’re going to get new track, new interchange siding, new repair facility improvements through this funding. This will, first of all, direct new jobs that come from the expanded rail facility. Secondly, it means fewer delays and safety risks,” … the Secretary explained, “means you’re less likely to have a train backed up on the main line, which means you’re less likely to have blocked railroad crossings.

Yahoo Finance: FRA awards more than $1.4B to short-line and passenger rail projects

“These awards make possible transformational improvements to short line rail infrastructure, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into safety improvements, emissions-reducing technology, and track and bridge rehabilitation to enhance network resiliency, capacity, fluidity, and service to shippers,” said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker in a Monday statement.

Freight Waves: FRA awards more than $1.4B to short-line and passenger rail projects

“FRA’s wise selections make clear that short line applicants and their partners provided fiercely competitive proposals that delivered on the USDOT’s stated goals of providing infrastructure investment to improve safety, efficiency, economic vitality, and resiliency.” said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker in a Monday statement.

Railway Age: FRA: $1.4B in Infrastructure Funding Through CRISI Program

“As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, federal investments are ‘tackling long-standing rail needs by supporting communities nationwide to help get people and goods where they need to be safely, quickly, and conveniently,’ according to FRA.”

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