The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is sending more than $17.5 million to the First Coast to help clear rail congestion in Jacksonville.
U.S. Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao announced on Wednesday that DOT is sending $17.6 million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant funds to Jacksonville to help “alleviate chokepoints at major downtown intersections to improve movement of people, patients, vehicles and freight throughout the Jacksonville region.”
Chao said the funds will help improve public safety and train service.
“These investments in intercity passenger and freight rail will benefit surrounding communities, make grade crossings safer and improve service reliability,” said Chao.
From his perch on the U.S. House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., applauded the news. Rutherford had urged the Federal Railroad Administration for the funds to improve rail service on the First Coast.
“Northeast Florida, with its intricate network of railways, highways, and ports, remains a hotbed for federal investment and economic growth,” said Rutherford. “Following other major awards to the region, this grant will ease congestion downtown and clear rail obstructions near major hospitals. I thank Secretary Chao for her partnership in positioning Northeast Florida as the logistical hub of the Eastern Seaboard.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also weighed in on the funds headed to the First Coast, with his office noted they “will go towards upgrading switches, constructs track and improves rail communications technology to alleviate rail and road congestion through San Marco and over the St. Johns River rail bridge in Jacksonville without blocking grade crossings.”
“This is welcomed news from the Department of Transportation,” Rubio said on Wednesday afternoon. “I applaud the Federal Railroad Administration for dedicating rail infrastructure and safety improvement funding to help alleviate rail and road congestion in Jacksonville.”
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.