U.S. DOT announces over $573 million in funding for new grade crossing elimination program

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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Public Utilities Commission of Ohio grants money for grade crossing improvements.
Operation Lifesaver, Inc.

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announcing more than $573 million in available grant funding this year alone for the Railroad Crossing Elimination Program.

This new competitive discretionary grant program was created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will be administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). At least 20% of available funding will go to rural and Tribal areas. Recent grade crossing accidents in Missouri and California have underscored the tragic consequences of collisions between trains and vehicles that occur throughout the country. In 2021, there were approximately 2,148 grade crossing incidents, resulting in 236 deaths and 662 injuries.

“In too many communities across America, outdated railroad crossings are unsafe, result in lengthy wait times, and can even create significant delays in our supply chains,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With resources from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can improve rail crossings and help people and goods get where they need to go more safely.”

“The Railroad Crossing Elimination Program will make many grade crossings safer or eliminate them altogether in the coming years,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “The projects funded by the program demonstrate the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s lasting impact on communities by strengthening their infrastructure, reducing congestion, and saving lives.”

The Railroad Crossing Elimination Program will fund projects that create grade separations – such as overpasses and underpasses – as well as closures, track relocations, and improvement or installation of warning devices at crossings if related to a separation or relocation project. Planning, environmental review, and other preliminary design elements are also eligible for grant funding.

FRA will evaluate project proposals based on their potential to improve safety by eliminating crossings or improving existing highway-rail grade crossings; increase access to emergency services; reduce emissions; provide economic benefit; and hire locally, among other possible community enhancements.

The Railroad Crossing Elimination Program is one of several funding opportunities supported by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve the safety of rail infrastructure across the country. Earlier this month, FRA awarded over $368 million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program grants to dozens of projects that will upgrade or eliminate grade crossings. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funding for the CRISI program will triple for the next five years, meaning more than $1 billion will be available starting later this year.

More information about the Railroad Crossing Elimination Program can be found on the fact sheet from FRA’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law webpage. The NOFO is posted on FRA’s website here and will subsequently be published in the Federal Register.

Read more about rail-highway grade crossings.

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