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U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $851.15 Million Loan for the Train Control Implementation and Rehabilitation Project in New England

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau provided a $851.15 million loan under the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) for the Train Control Implementation and Rehabilitation Project in New England. 

“This federal investment of $851.15 million will enhance safety on one of the busiest commuter railroads in the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

MBTA, the largest transit provider in New England, is implementing train control technology and associated supporting infrastructure required to comply with the Positive Train Control (PTC) standards requirements for improved railroad safety across its entire commuter rail network.  The project includes completing the installation of PTC across the whole system and the installation of the complementary Automatic Train Control (ATC) system on the 170-mile North Side Computer Rail lines.  The project also includes the expansion of buried fiber optic cable network to cover the entire MBTA commuter rail signaling system to enhance commuter rail system resiliency. 

PTC systems prevent trains from being routed through misaligned switches, protect against train-to-train collisions, derailments related to speeding, incursion into work zones without proper authority, and protect the movement of trains through failed or inoperative grade crossing systems.  

MBTA’s commuter rail network is the fourth-busiest commuter rail in the country (based on average weekday travel), after only the New York-area, Chicago-area, and Washington, DC-area systems.  The MBTA lines go as far south as Providence, Rhode Island, as far north as Newburyport, Massachusetts, and as far west as Worcester and Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

Financial close for Bureau credit assistance is contingent upon the Project meeting all Federal statutory, regulatory and policy requirements.  The Bureau is fully committed to providing additional flexibility and financial assistance to transportation projects in regions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize the negative effects and help them throughout this global crisis.

The Bureau, which administers the RRIF credit program, was established as a “one-stop shop” to streamline credit opportunities, while also providing technical assistance and encouraging innovative best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and monitoring.  To date, the RRIF credit program has closed $7.1 billion in financings to support railroad projects across the country.  

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