Making the most of the Corridor ID Program

A diagram showing the steps in developing an intercity rail project. 1) Systems Planning 2) Project Planning 3) Development 4) Final Design 5) Construction 6) Operaation

Issue in Brief

The Corridor ID Program is a great new tool

The new Corridor Identification Program is managed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). It will be the pathway to federal financial support and technical assistance for new or improved intercity passenger rail routes across the country.

Corridor ID offers a low risk way for local governments and states to start planning for fast, frequent, and affordable trains as states develop their rail programs.

Why Corridor ID is important

Corridor ID is the tool that the FRA will use to prioritize how federal intercity passenger rail funds are spent.  The project pipeline will help Congress to decide how much funding to give intercity passenger rail.

Big-picture, Corridor ID accomplishes three crucial things:

  • Creates a process for agencies to apply for and be awarded federal grants for planning railroad projects.
  • Gives relevant agencies and Congress a tool to evaluate the priority and overall value of proposed projects.
  • Builds a foundation for the Federal Railroad Administration to plan a national network of fast, frequent, and affordable trains. As the FRA notes, Corridor ID is a comprehensive planning and development program “that will help guide intercity passenger rail development throughout the country and create a pipeline of . . . projects ready for implementation.”

More Insights

FY22 Corridor ID Awards

The FRA has announced the first round of corridors to be accepted into the Corridor ID process.

Corridor ID Summary PDF

HDR Inc., an Alliance corporate partner, has prepared an excellent summary PDF.

Watch our overview webinar

Gain a better understanding of how the Corridor ID program works. Whether your local project is just getting started or pursuing funds to begin construction, this program can help move your project forward.

Steps in the Corridor ID process

The process is broken into three steps. The first step comes at no cost to the project sponsor, so it is a low-risk way to better understand the costs and benefits of the corridor.  The sponsor is not obligated to move into the following steps.

Step 1

Creating the scope, schedule, and cost estimate for preparing a Service Development Plan.

Award amount: $500,000

Local share: 0%

Step 2

Develop the Service Development Plan

Award amount: TBD

Local share: 10%

Step 3

Final design and environmental review

Award amount: TBD

Local share: 20%

How Corridor ID relates to other federal programs

Corridor ID helps project sponsors, like a state or a metropolitan planning organization, make their project ready for other federal funding programs. The biggest funding program is the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail.

A diagram showing the steps in developing an intercity rail project. 1) Systems Planning 2) Project Planning 3) Development 4) Final Design 5) Construction 6) Operaation

Goals of the Corridor ID Program

  • Support a sustained long-term development effort.
  • Create a capital project pipeline ready for federal (and other) funding.
  • Become the primary means for directing federal financial support and technical assistance for new or improved intercity passenger rail services throughout the United States.

Eligible applicants

  • Amtrak
  • States
  • Groups of states
  • Entities implementing interstate compacts
  • Regional passenger rail authorities
  • Regional planning organizations
  • Political subdivisions of a state
  • Federally recognized Indian Tribes

Eligible corridors

  • New routes under 750 miles (except commuter rail)
  • Existing routes under 750 miles (except commuter rail)
  • Existing inter-regional (long-distance) routes
  • Inter-regional routes discontinued by Amtrak
  • Inter-regional routes operating on April 30, 1971

What you can do

Make sure that your local leaders know that they can use the Corridor ID program to build the case for trains to their town.

A dude is using an IPad on a station platform wth a high-speed train in the background.

Take Action

The country needs an Interstate Railway Program, like the Interstate Highway Program, to take full advantage of the community, economic, and environmental benefits of trains.

Please join with us in asking Congress to create a national railway program to re-connect America with fast, frequent, and affordable trains.

Sign the Petition