March 04, 2020
Grant will fund rail safety and infrastructure improvements to serve businesses adjacent to ABQ International Sunport
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced the Federal Railroad Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), has awarded a $4,638,546 grant to Bernalillo County for rail infrastructure and safety improvements.
“This grant is part of a larger effort to grow the New Mexican economy through increased exports to solidify our position as a vital contributor to southwestern and national trade,” said Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I’m proud to have fought for this crucial federal investment in rail infrastructure improvements to ensure that our rail system continues to deliver the highest standards of safety for the New Mexican business owners who depend on reliable railroads for their commercial success.”
“This infrastructure investment for Bernalillo County will help grow our state’s trade economy and create new jobs,” said Heinrich. “I will continue to fight for critical investments that build the foundation for long-term economic growth and job creation in our state.”
“Improved rail infrastructure in Bernalillo County will help boost local businesses and New Mexico’s economy. Across New Mexico, I’m proud to be fighting for infrastructure improvements that will help bolster trade, travel, and economic opportunities for our families,” said Luján. “I will continue fighting for infrastructure and safety priorities to put New Mexico at the forefront of economic success.”
“The Sunport is an incredible resource for businesses and entrepreneurs in our state, but the connections from the Sunport are limited. This investment will update rail connections so businesses have more convenient, safe access to trade and growth opportunities,” said Haaland.
“This grant is an exciting opportunity to expand the competitiveness of New Mexico’s export industry by connecting businesses through new rail, truck, and airfreight facilities near the Albuquerque International Airport,” said Torres Small. “Investing in our infrastructure networks across New Mexico is critical to promoting economic development, especially in our rural communities, and this announcement marks a significant step forward. I’m proud to have worked with the New Mexico Delegation to advocate for this critical investment, which will benefit all corners of our state.”
The grant will fund the partial rehabilitation of the Kirtland Rail Spur and construct a half-mile of rail siding for Albuquerque’s rail system. The funding was appropriated by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant program. This program leverages private, state and local investments to support safety enhancements including positive train control and rail integrity inspection systems.
The improvements are part of the larger effort to fund the establishment of the Sunport Economic Development Investment District, near Albuquerque International Airport. The aim is to increase the economic competitiveness of New Mexico’s export industries via the development of rail, airfreight and truck facilities adjacent to the airport. The project has obtained a 50% private funding match.
The New Mexico Congressional Delegation sent a letter to the U.S. DOT in support of Bernalillo County’s grant application in September 2019.
The full text of the delegation letter of support is available HERE.
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