FRA issues more than $56M in CRISI grant funding

Written by Kyra Senese, managing editor
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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) last week announced the availability of $56,933,567 in grant funding for 18 projects in 16 states.

Officials said the funding is expected to help improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail systems under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program, which the FRA states online is intended to invest in rail infrastructure.

“These funds will help repair and upgrade rail infrastructure that will increase safety and service,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The FRA’s Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) reserved at least 25 percent of the grant funds for rural projects, according to a news release. The 2017 Appropriations Act required that $10 million be reserved for projects that aim to restore or initiate intercity passenger rail service. In July of 2018, the FRA issued a NOFO for more than $318 million in available CRISI grants.

“We’re extremely pleased that the CRISI grant program directs much-needed critical investment to rural America,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory.

The FRA said it considered several criteria as stated in the NOFO when selecting projects. Factors such as the ability to support economic vitality or leverage federal funds to attract other sources of funding were among those criteria considered during the project selection process.

The FRA also notes factors such as preparing for project life-cycle costs; using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; and holding recipients accountable for achieving specific and measurable outcomes were among the desired attributes.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation was awarded grant funding in theRestoration and Initiation Projects category for its North Carolina – Millbrook Road Grade Separation Sealed Corridor Project, according to the FRA. In the category of Rural Projects, the states of Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, New York, South Dakota, Texas and Vermont received grant funding.

A full list of the grant recipients is available to view here.

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