Federal Updates


Midwest FRA-Led Multistate Planning

MIPRC and the Federal Railroad Administration released the Midwest Regional Rail Plan on Oct. 13, 2021 -- the end result of a 7-year process that began in November 2014 when MIPRC submitted, on behalf of the Midwest, a Statement of Interest and Qualifications for a FRA-led multistate rail planning process. The Midwest was one of two regions chosen in 2015 to participate.

The Midwest Regional Rail Plan is a high-level, long-term study that will help the region and FRA determine the priorities, studies and investment needed to advance projects within a multi-state network. The plan also envisions an expanded role for MIPRC as the main regional governance authority.

Twelve Midwestern state DOTs and MIPRC were the lead stakeholders for the project; 30 supporting stakeholders included local governments, MPOs, railroads, public and private passenger rail operators, transit agencies, and other regional and statewide planning organizations.

In December 2022, MIPRC applied for a $5 million CRISI planning grant to begin the work of refining and prioritizing corridor development envisioned by the Midwest Regional Rail Plan to ensure that the region does indeed build on current plans to create a robust Midwest passenger rail network, serving all the states, and both urban and rural communities.

MIPRC’s CRISI grant application summary (December 2022)
Background information on the Midwest’s FRA-Led Planning Project (November 2015)


Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Funding

Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (2021)

In November 2021, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), which will provide $66 billion to passenger rail over its 5-year life – the largest-ever federal investment in passenger rail. The IIJA keeps some of the discretionary grant programs authorized by the FAST Act (the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Improvements and Restoration & Enhancement grant programs) and repurposes others (the Federal-State Partnership for a State of Good Repair is now the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail); it also inaugurates the Corridor Identification & Development, Interstate Rail Compacts and Railroad Crossing Elimination programs. The IIJA also allocates $22 billion to Amtrak, over and above annual appropriations. (See our November 2021 story on the law here.)


Recent MIPRC Federal Input

MIPRC Communications to Congress:

Email to Midwestern members of Congress asking for support of full funding for Amtrak & passenger rail programs in FY2024 THUD appropriations 1/8/2024

Testimony to House Transportation & Infrastructure's Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines & Hazardous Materials on leveraging the IIJA to expand intercity passenger rail 12/8/21


MIPRC Communications to the FRA:

Recommendations on FRA's Long-Distance Service Study (August 2023)

Response to FRA Request for Information on Interstate Rail Compacts Program 9/17/2022

Response to FRA Request for Information on Corridor ID & Development Program 3/8/2022

Letters of support for Corridor ID & Development Program:

•    Hiawatha extensions
•    2nd Great River frequency
City of Fort Wayne, IN
Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority


For older MIPRC federal input, please see below.

MIPRC began communicating its principles for federal surface transportation renewal to Midwestern members of Congress in October 2019 during its Annual Meeting, held in Washington, D.C., and was pleased to see most of them adopted in the IIJA.


MIPRC federal surface transportation reauthorization principles (April 2021)

MIPRC support for reauthorization proposals & request for addition of PRIIA Sec. 209 reform (7/23/21)

MIPRC: Let's take a comprehensive look at how we want our nation's passenger rail system to run (6/3/2021)

MIPRC letter to Congress in support of the American Jobs Plan's passenger rail priorities, Amtrak FY22 request & FAST Act reauthorization (May 2021)

MIPRC letter to President Biden in support of the American Jobs Plan's passenger rail priorities (April 2021)

MIPRC letter to Midwestern members of Congress in support of Division D (the TRAINS Act) of H.R. 2 (June 2020)

MIPRC federal surface transportation reauthorization principles (1/20/2020)

MIPRC holds Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., to amplify Midwest's voice as FAST Act renewal begins (10/31/19)

Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (2015)

In December 2015, Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a five-year surface transportation law which included intercity passenger rail and Amtrak reauthorization language for the first time in transportation legislative history. The law also created three new discretionary grant programs: Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Improvements, Restoration & Enhancement and Federal-State Partnership for a State of Good Repair. The law was replaced in 2021 by the IIJA, also known as the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

General information on FAST Act funding and awards

Authorized and enacted funding for FAST Act discretionary grant programs (FFY 2016-2020)

NOFOs (Notices Of Funding Opportunities) and grant awards for FAST Act discretionary grant programs (as of October 28, 2020)

Midwestern passenger rail projects and awards through the FAST Act

Midwestern passenger rail projects ready for funding or in scoping phases (as of June 10, 2020)


Older MIPRC Federal input

MIPRC asks Midwestern members of Congress to fund restoration of daily service on Amtrak's long-distance trains 1/28/21

MIPRC letter to Midwestern members of Congress in support of $4.9 billion for Amtrak in COVID relief and 2021 appropriations 12/15/20

MIPRC comments supporting FRA's proposed rule on Metrics & Minimum Standards for Intercity Passenger Rail Service 6/1/20

MIPRC testimony supporting FRA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Metrics & Minimum Standards for Intercity Passenger Rail Service 4/30/20

MIPRC letter to Congress supporting $1 billion in emergency funding due to COVID-19 3/21/20

MIPRC submits FFY 2020 funding request 4/30/19

MIPRC to Congress, FRA, Amtrak: Sustain the federal-state partnership for passenger rail 6/13/18

MIPRC visits Congress to promote passenger rail 6/2/17

MIPRC asks Midwest Members of Congress to protect funding for long-distance service 4/7/17

MIPRC asks Midwest Members of Congress to protect passenger rail funding in FFY 2017 Appropriations 5/11/16

MIPRC Chair Testifies Before U.S. Senate Transportation Committee 2/25/2016

MIPRC Submits Comments to STB re: OTP and Amtrak Preference 2/23/2016

MIPRC urges Midwestern Members of Congress to Support Extension of PTC Implementation Deadline 10/12/2015

Information on Midwestern States' HSIPR Applications/Awards

See the awards Midwestern states received under the federal High Speed Intercity Rail Program to begin building the region's system of fast, frequent passenger rail service!

Click here for information on the Midwestern states’ 2010-2011 High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) awards

Click here to read background information on federal passenger rail progress (2008-2009)

Secretariat services provided by The Council Of State Governments' Midwestern Office.