- October 27, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham, Steve Pearce and Ben Ray Luján have announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $15,210,143 for the Southwest Chief Route Advancement and Improvement Project to continue essential upgrades to Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line.

The Southwest Chief runs from Chicago to Los Angeles and stops in several New Mexico communities, including Raton, Las Vegas, Lamy, Albuquerque and Gallup. Without funding for these essential repairs, the Southwest Chief could have been rerouted or abandoned entirely — a major economic loss to rural communities that depend on the service.

The new funding is being awarded through DOT’s TIGER VII grant program. It will be used to add approximately 39 miles of new continuously welded rail and to repair more than 20 miles of track roadbed in and around Albuquerque. The New Mexico congressional delegation supported the grant application in a letter to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx.

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(TRA) - Had state and funding not been found to preserve Amtrak's current route, the Southwest Chief might have been routed through Amarillo in the Texas panhandle.