Record-breaking CRISI funding will help fuel ‘railroad revolution’

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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The U.S. DOT is releasing over $1.4 billion in CRISI funding.

The U.S. DOT has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announcing the availability of over $1.4 billion in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) Grant funding.

This year, President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law more than triples funding for the CRISI Program—a much-needed step to meet the heavy demand for rail funding from states and local communities. The program allocates at least 25% of total funds for projects in rural areas. 

“Freight rail is a critical part of our supply chains, and when shipping costs come down, families pay less for goods,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Today, because of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re thrilled to announce the biggest round of funding ever to make both passenger and freight trains across America safer, faster, and more reliable.”

Higher funding levels enabled by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also will accelerate progress in building up infrastructure resilience and strengthening the supply chain, which in turns makes it less expensive to transport goods. The influx of new grant opportunities will allow FRA to invest in a wide range of projects that will mitigate passenger and freight rail congestion; enhance multi-modal connections; and improve and establish new intercity passenger rail corridors. Furthermore, CRISI grants are a major source of funding for short line railroads, whose operations bolster local economies and are crucial for supply chain fluidity. These nationwide investments will advance the Department’s key goals of infrastructure safety, efficiency, economic vitality, equity, and resiliency. 

“Projects funded by these CRISI grants will generate economic opportunities and improve the travel experience in communities across America, whether urban or rural, large or small,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s massive boost to the CRISI Program, the funding made available today will help launch our country’s new rail revolution and maintain our rail network’s unmatched standards for safety and efficiency.”

In addition to projects that improve and expand freight and passenger rail infrastructure, CRISI grants will focus on safety projects such as grade crossing enhancements and rail line relocations and improvements as well as other priorities, including workforce development and training, regional rail and corridor planning, environmental analyses, and research and deployment of railroad safety technology. New project eligibilities also include measures to prevent trespassing and to rehabilitate, remanufacture, procure, or overhaul locomotives for emissions reduction projects.  

The NOFO is published in today’s Federal Register here. Applications for funding are due 90 days after this date. FRA will support applicants with web-based training and technical assistance. More information about the CRISI Program can be found on FRA’s website here

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