April 17, 2022 – TRA Newswire –

Videos from the 18th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference are being uploaded to the rail conference page.


Federal Railroad Administration Chief Counsel Allison Ishihara Fultz explains that details under new and expanded grant programs available under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be announced in just a few weeks. In mid-May the FRA will announce the steps necessary for state, local and other entities to submit freight and passenger rail projects and proposals for both fully-funded and competitive grant programs.

Click here to view on YouTube.

"We really want everyone to be thinking big in terms of improving and expanding rail infrastructure in the country because for once we really have got some funding to support that", according to Chief Counsel Ishihara Fultz. "The evaluation criteria for these programs will be rigorous, competition will be fierce. We want to help applicants to put their best application forward that they can."

Unlike highways and transit, rail has lacked a multi-year funding stream, according to Fultz. "The $66 billion in advance appropriations is a welcome infusion that will make up for some, but not all historic gaps"  


Texas Department of Transportation Rail Division Director Jeff Davis is new to his position but not to railroading. He describes his three-year strategic plan for the department to make it more customer focused and able to meet the needs of a growing rail transportation industry. One pilot program is to have a rail division employee assigned for each TxDOT highway district to better coordinate rail projects.

Texas House Transportation Chair Terry Canales discusses the importance of railroads in Texas and how this more fuel-efficient mode should take advantage of the new infrastructure bill that offers many programs to advance both freight and passenger rail in Texas. A state match, utilizing the Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund, could mean Texas would benefit from part of the $66 billion in federal funds in this once-in-a-generation rail bill.

Amtrak Vice President Ray Lang shows how “America’s Railroad” wants to expand passenger rail service to hundreds of unserved and underserved towns and cities across the country, including three corridors in Texas. Lang shows how the 2035 vision of Amtrak ConnectsUS could benefit Texans with faster, more frequent and dependable passenger rail service.

Texas Railroad Association members Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway and the Texas Short Line and Regional Railroad Association touch on how freight railroads benefit shippers and the public in Texas and how the voter approved Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund, which has stayed unfunded since 2005, would benefit economic development throughout the state.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit Executive Vice-President Dee Leggett explains projects in the pipeline and how DART will meet the needs of a fast growing population in North Texas.

Southern Rail Commission Chair Knox Ross announces that Canadian Pacific Railway, soon to take over Kansas City Southern, wants to partner with Amtrak to provide passenger service between Dallas-Fort Worth; East Texas; Meridian, Mississippi and Atlanta along with Baton Rogue to New Orleans service. I-20 Corridor Council Chair Judge Richard Anderson discusses ongoing efforts to bring train service to the region.

Alexandre Paquet, Customer Director and Head of Business Development, Rolling Stock describes how Alstom is building the next generation of cleaner, more fuel-efficient trains to move people in ongoing projects around the world

New technology in allowing shippers to track their rail cars and gain more efficiency was presented by representatives of Nexxiot, Trinity Rail and Quasar.

Technology is playing a major part in shaping the way railroads are built and maintained. Geismar President Alan Reynolds describes the tools of the trade being used in railroading today.

Siemens is investing in American passenger rail. Steve Roescher, Director of Business Development, describes infrastructure projects in which the company is involved.