Over $244M in grant money available for freight, passenger rail

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
image description
Gardendale Railroad locomotive.
Courtesy Gardendale Railroad, Inc.

The U.S. DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program. The NOFO includes more than $244 million in grant funding. 

The FY 2019 NOFO will fund projects that increase rail transportation safety, efficiency, and reliability. Eligible applications will include projects that address congestion challenges, highway-rail grade crossings, upgrade short-line railroad infrastructure, relocate rail lines, improve intercity passenger rail capital assets, and deploy railroad safety technology. Both freight and passenger rail infrastructure projects are eligible.

The CRISI grant program also directs investment to rural America, with at least 25 percent of available funds reserved for projects in rural communities. This enables FRA to improve rural America’s rail infrastructure.

The FRA also will consider how projects support key objectives including enhancing economic vitality; leveraging federal funding; adopting life-cycle cost accounting; using innovative approaches to improve safety and expediting project delivery; and holding grant recipients accountable for achieving specific, measurable outcomes. Preference will be given to projects where the proposed federal share of total costs does not exceed 50 percent.

Since the award of FY 2017 and FY 2018 CRISI grants, including for Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation, FRA held a webinar and multiple debriefings with over 80 stakeholders to discuss ways to improve applications for funding. This gives prospective applicants greater understanding of the program and the selection criteria.

Applications for funding under this FY 2019 CRISI NOFO are due 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. Following publication, FRA will offer web-based training and technical assistance for eligible applicants on Wednesday, Sept. 4. For more details about the CRISI program, visit this page. To view the NOFO, visit this link.

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