Southwest Chief route gets 2nd grant to refurbish tracks

The future of the Southwest Chief train became more secure when the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $15.2 million “TIGER” grant to replace decaying tracks. It is the second grant the agency has awarded to save this historic, famous travel route through western Kansas, southeast Colorado, and northern New Mexico.

A coalition of state and local governments, Amtrak, and the BNSF Railway are contributing matching money of $9.23 million. The three states are each giving $1 million. Amtrak is contributing $4 million and the BNSF Railway $2 million.  The BNSF has also pledged to pay for track maintenance for the restored line, an additional major contribution. Like last year, ColoRail has contributed to the match, as well.

This grant is one of 39 granted out of 627 applications. The breadth and depth of our coalition was a big factor in our success. The total of the requests amounted to $10 billion, which is testimony to the severe under-funding of our nation’s transportation infrastructure.

“TIGER” stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. The program is helping many communities develop innovative approaches to transportation improvement. See the U.S. Department of Transportation announcement for this round of TIGER grants.

For a more complete story, see the October, 26, 2015 edition of the Pueblo Chieftain: SW Chief gets $15.2M grant