Today, Representative John Curtis (R-UT), introduced the bipartisan Transit Revitalization and Infrastructure Needs (TRAIN) Act to expand the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) FrontRunner service. The TRAIN Act would make a technical fix to the US Department of Transportation’s Core Capacity federal grant program to allow eligibility for the FrontRunner expansion project, which would ultimately increase the frequency and reliability of FrontRunner trains. Additionally, the TRAIN Act would expand grant funding eligibility to include electrifying transit systems. The bipartisan legislation is also cosponsored by Representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Blake Moore (R-UT), and Katie Porter (D-CA).

“Managing Utah’s population growth is a challenge for all levels of government. I am committed to ensuring Utah has the resources to handle growth for decades ahead,” said Curtis. “The TRAIN Act will ensure Utah is able to expand its transportation infrastructure for the efficient moving of Utahns, with the added benefit of cleaner air by making it easier to move by public transportation.”

“The Capital Investment Grant Program is a critical source of funding for transit projects in New Jersey and throughout the country,” said Malinowski. “The TRAIN Act makes important improvements to the program, including by enabling agencies like New Jersey Transit to complete expansion projects — like expanding train platforms — before their systems reach rider capacity. I thank Congressman Curtis for his leadership on this issue.” 

“Utah’s recent growth has bolstered our economy and brought countless opportunities, but our rapid expansion has also brought challenges. As our population continues to grow, we must commit to creative approaches that ensure our infrastructure is ready,” said Moore. “The TRAIN Act is a great example of how resourceful thinking will enable Utahns to travel more safely, quickly, and efficiently.”

“Our outdated transportation system is unsustainable. But with innovative investments, we can fight the climate crisis and strengthen our economy. I’m proud to back the TRAIN Act, which would make our transit systems more reliable and reduce our country’s reliance on dirty diesel-powered engines,” said Porter.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox:

"I appreciate Representative Curtis's leadership on improving federal transportation policy. The TRAIN Act will make the federal government more responsive to states and forward thinking, helping fast growing states like Utah to develop transportation infrastructure farther in advance. Among other things, the legislation will help us expand the capacity of our FrontRunner trains as we anticipate the needs of Utah's growing population.”

Carlton Christensen, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Utah Transit Authority:

“For the past few decades, Utah has been, and continues to be, one of the fastest growing states in the country. As a result of this explosive population growth, the Wasatch Front is grappling with traffic congestion and air quality challenges. We believe that federal investment in reliable public transit is an important part of solving some of Utah’s toughest growth challenges. Utah Transit Authority is grateful to Rep. John Curtis for his leadership in introducing the TRAIN Act, which will provide greater flexibility and opportunities for federal investment in our FrontRunner system—the backbone of Utah’s premier public transit system. This important legislation will help UTA secure federal funds to double track and make critical upgrades to the FrontRunner, providing more frequent, reliable service to our riders.”

Background

The TRAIN Act allows the Department of Transportation to provide grants to state and local governments to assist in:

  1. expanding transit station platforms,
  2. increasing service frequency,
  3. increasing the capacity of an existing station, and
  4. replacing temporary measures (including the use of rail equipment) which have been used to expand system capacity.

A fixed guideway capital investment grant project may advance to the engineering phase of development if DOT makes certain determinations, including:

  1. that the project will increase capacity of an existing fixed guideway system, corridor, or station at least 10% or replace temporary measures; and
  2. whether existing fixed guideway transit vehicles or stations are at or over capacity or are projected to be at or over capacity within the next 10 years.