WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, RI’s Congressional delegation announced the $2.8 million Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) to continue planning an Amtrak stop at T.F. Green Airport.
Monday, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced the development. Recently, Reed, the ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, included language in the fiscal year 2016 Transportation Appropriations bill requiring the Federal Railroad Administration to conduct a feasibility analysis exploring options for bringing Amtrak train service to T.F. Green.
As a result of Reed’s efforts, the FRA’s 2017 feasibility study noted bringing a regular Amtrak stop to the airport would require upgrades at T.F. Green Station in order to allow Amtrak’s regional trains to stop there and to accommodate freight, commuter, and high-speed trains that also operate along that route. This new CRISI grant will allow RIDOT, in partnership with Amtrak, to advance the initiative and support preliminary engineering and environmental review work on a new Amtrak stop at the existing T.F. Green commuter rail station.
“Connecting T.F. Green Airport with the Amtrak system could open the door to significant growth for the airport and for Rhode Island’s economy,” said Whitehouse. “Securing this federal grant is the first step towards providing a new convenient travel option for Rhode Islanders and visitors alike.”
The CRISI funding award comes several months after the delegation members penned a letter to United States Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in support of RIDOT’s application. The lawmakers noted in their letter the funding would expand transportation options for domestic and international visitors arriving at and departing from T.F. Green airport, as well as increase access, connectivity, and ridership along the Northeast Corridor. Intercity Amtrak service would help accelerate commercial development of City Centre Warwick, a growing economic development encompassing the commuter rail station and airport.
“This federal funding will continue to lay the groundwork to bring direct Amtrak service to T.F. Green Airport,” said Congressman Langevin. “Adding airport service would provide more options for commuters and boost our local economy. I was pleased to help secure this important funding alongside my delegation colleagues.”
RIDOT will use the grant for a comprehensive review of track and signal improvements that would be required, along with operating costs needed to expand service to T.F. Green.
“Bringing Amtrak service directly to T.F. Green could help make the airport more accessible and better connect Rhode Islanders to opportunities and transportation choices. I will continue to support the state’s efforts at the federal level and work to ensure that any plan to move forward is undertaken in a smart, cost-effective manner that builds on the significant investments we have already made,” said Reed, who led the effort to provide $255 million for the CRISI grant program in fiscal year 2019, as well as $1.94 billion for Amtrak, including $650 million in investments for the Northeast Corridor.
“Making T.F. Green Airport even more accessible to Rhode Islanders and travelers is critical to ensuring continued investment in Rhode Island,” Cicilline said. “With these federal funds, we are one step closer to the construction of a new Amtrak stop at T.F. Green that will make getting to the airport even easier for people throughout the state.