Missouri in Midwest Consortium Receiving a Federal Grant for New Passenger Rail Equipment
Missouri, Michigan, Iowa and Illinois to Get New American-made Engines, Rail Cars
JEFFERSON CITY -Amtrak Missouri River Runner passengers will ride the St. Louis to Kansas City rail corridor in grander style in the future, thanks to a grant awarded by the Federal Railroad Administration. Missouri joined forces with the states of Michigan, Iowa and Illinois to win funding for new locomotives and rail cars.
In a news release issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the four-state Midwest consortium will receive $268 million to purchase next-generation, American-made trains. This made up a significant part of a larger $336.2 million award made last Wednesday, with the remaining portion going to the state of California also for new rail equipment.
"This is great news. Our customers deserve the comforts and conveniences that brand new cars will provide to make Amtrak an even more eco-friendly transportation option," said MoDOT Multimodal Director Michelle Teel. "Missourians will eventually notice about eight new cars, which is enough to replace most of the equipment we are using today."
According to the U.S. DOT, the next step is for state partners to begin a joint procurement process, "first issuing a request for information and then a request for proposal to allow an open and competitive process." It expects the RFI to be issued later this summer. Once product information is collected and an RFP is issued, it will include a strict "Buy America" requirement to ensure that U.S. manufacturers and workers receive the maximum economic benefits from this federal investment.
Because the Illinois Department of Transportation served as the main applicant for the Midwest grant, that agency will receive the award and take the lead on the procurement process. Once the equipment is purchased, it will be placed in a pool owned and used by each of the four states.
Details are yet to be worked out about the new equipment used in Missouri, but it is highly likely the cars would be maintained by Amtrak and cycled in and out of a pool potentially kept in St. Louis.
For more information, the news release issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation is available online at http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2011/fra1611.html.