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MIPRC receives an inaugural federal grant to expand its work
Jon Davis
/ Categories: News

MIPRC receives an inaugural federal grant to expand its work

The Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC) has been awarded a two-year, up to $300,000 Interstate Rail Compacts (IRC) grant in the inaugural round of funding for the new program, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced on March 14.

“MIPRC looks forward to expanding our passenger rail efforts throughout the Midwestern states with its first Interstate Rail Compacts grant, and our continued partnership with FRA,” MIPRC Chair Beth McClusky said.

Grant funds will be used to expand MIPRC’s staff, update and modernize its electronic and published communications channels and materials, broaden its outreach to myriad stakeholders, and strengthen its ability to apply and compete for future federal planning grants.

The grant will also help MIPRC evolve into the enhanced regional governance authority envisioned by the FRA-led Midwest Regional Rail Plan (MWRRP) of 2021, which set forth a strategic 40-year vision for the Midwest’s passenger rail network.

The Interstate Rail Compacts grant program was created in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (the “Bi-partisan Infrastructure Law”). The FRA announced the opportunity to apply for the first round of funding, for federal fiscal years 2022 and 2023, in May 2023. A team of MIPRC officers, commissioners and partners worked with MIPRC staff to prepare the commission’s application, which was submitted in July. Grant recipients are required to provide a 50 percent match.

“The Interstate Rail Compacts Grant Program fills a vital need by providing entities implementing interstate rail compacts with the resources to build up an organizational and human infrastructure for the fluid operation of new services that will meet the needs of local communities,” FRA Administrator Amit Bose said in a press release.

“We are thrilled to receive this inaugural IRC award that will grow MIPRC’s capacity to promote, coordinate and support passenger rail improvements in the region,” MIPRC Director Laura Kliewer said. “We are thankful to Congress for recognizing the important role regional interstate passenger rail compacts do and can play in passenger rail development in our country.

“Intercity passenger rail is inherently an interstate endeavor, and we look forward to increasing our capacity to assist the Midwestern states and neighboring regions in developing and implementing a unified, comprehensive regional and national passenger rail network,” she said.

Along with MIPRC, grant winners include:
•    The Southern Rail Commission, which will get up to $400,000 for administration, promotion of intercity passenger rail operations and operations coordination, and preparation of competitive federal grant program applications in support of expanding intercity passenger rail service in the Southeast region.
•    The Virginia-North Carolina Interstate High-Speed Rail Compact Commission (a compact between North Carolina and Virginia), which will get up to $200,000 for administration and system planning activities to complete the Southeast Rail Network Analysis. This project will help advance efforts to improve the fluidity of the Southeast rail network to benefit both passenger and freight rail.

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