The Southwest Chief rail line that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles through Dodge City is getting added assistance from New Mexico with TIGER grants.

The Department of Transportation have stated that New Mexico will be granted $16 million in TIGER grants to go towards repairs of the Southwest Chief rail line in New Mexico's Colfax County that will fund rail line repairs in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico.

"This is the third TIGER grant that has been awarded for critical repairs and improvements on this line and the Kansas Department of Transportation along with Dodge City, Garden City, Hutchison and Newton has made significant financial contributions to all three TIGER grants that have been awarded," said Dodge City public information officer Abbey Martin.

According to the New Mexico Legislature, initial estimates indicated that more than $100 million was needed to upgrade the portions of the line operating in New Mexico, Kansas, and Colorado to meet passenger train standers. Two former TIGER grants enabled large sections of the Southwest Chief’s rail line to be repaired. This final TIGER grant will provide the funding needed to repair and rehabilitate this last rail line section, based primarily in New Mexico, with the same updates installed on the rest of the line.

"The Southwest Chief is an engine of economic growth in New Mexico that connects rural communities from Raton to Gallup," said U.S. Senator of New Mexico Tom Udall in a press release. "This critical grant will fund badly-needed improvements to ensure a strong and stable future for the Southwest Chief in New Mexico.

"As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll keep fighting for investments in rural infrastructure that benefit the economy and link communities across our state."

"Investments in our rural transportation infrastructure are critical to spurring economic development," said U.S. Senator of New Mexico Martin Heinrich in a press release. "The Southwest Chief isn't just a railroad route in New Mexico, it connects communities like Gallup and Las Vegas to the rest of the nation and boosts the local economy.

"Every summer, the Southwest Chief transports thousands of Boy Scouts from across the country to Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, generating economic activity for businesses in these rural areas along the way.

"This grant will ensure much-needed repairs and improvements to rail line are made to keep the Southwest Chief on track to continue service of this route."

New Mexico Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham added, "Amtrak’s Southwest Chief has long been an economic driver for New Mexico and the improvements funded by this grant will ensure its continued vitality in our state.

"This grant provides the kind of infrastructure investment New Mexico needs and that I will continue to fight for in Congress.

"I’m proud to announce this new investment to provide much needed infrastructure improvements to New Mexico’s rail service.

"Safe and efficient transportation networks support New Mexico’s economy through the movement of goods and services while also benefiting communities by improving access to work, school, and health facilities."

There will be 27 miles of rail line needing to be replaced once the TIGER IX grant repairs are complete.

Those repairs run between Hutchinson and La Junta, Colorado, and between Pierceville and Howell.

Dodge City, Newton, Hutchinson and Garden City matched three TIGER grants with Kansas Department of Transportation also contributing $3 million towards TIGER grant VI and $1 million for TIGER grants VII and IX each.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com