FRA Awards over $1.4B in Railroad Project Grants

The Federal Railroad Administration recently issued over more than $1.4 billion to 70 railroad improvement projects in 35 states and Washington, D.C., via its Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements or CRISI program.

[Above photo by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association]

The projects for this round of grants via the CRISI program cover railroad track improvements, bridge rehabilitations, highway-rail grade crossings, upgrades on routes carrying hazardous materials, and more.

Selected projects also improve connectivity, reduce shipping costs, increase resiliency to extreme weather, reduce emissions, and support workforce development, the agency said – with more than two-thirds of CRISI grant funding going to projects in rural communities.

FRA’s Amit Bose. Photo by AASHTO.

“For years, the CRISI Program has helped to maintain and modernize America’s freight rail network, and it’s the only federal grant program prioritizing smaller, short line railroads vital to our nation’s economy and regional supply chains,” noted FRA Administrator Amit Bose in a statement

“The selected projects will tackle issues facing communities and invest in a 21st century rail network yielding greater benefits – faster and more reliable deliveries of goods, safer communities, cleaner transportation, and more jobs and workforce development opportunities,” he added.

Projects overseen by state departments of transportation receiving grants from this round of CRISI program funding include:

  • The Alabama Department of Transportation gets nearly $16 million for the Blackbelt and Central Alabama Freight Rail Improvement project to complete various track and bridge improvements on two short-line rail lines within the state; the Eastern Alabama Railway and Meridian & Bigbee Railroad. 
  • The Florida Department of Transportation gets nearly $7 million for its Central Florida Rail Corridor Crossings and Trespassing Safety Improvements project, which involves final design and construction activities for improvements at approximately 110 highway-rail grade crossings, as well as complete trespassing prevention improvements at select locations.
  • The Kansas Department of Transportation gets nearly $16 million for its Electrifying Watco Locomotives or “kWat” project to convert eight diesel-powered locomotives into electric battery-powered units for short line rail operations, along with $31 million for the Southeast Kansas Short Line Rail Upgrade and Growth project for track-related improvements on the Neodesha Subdivision of the South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad.
  • The Maryland Department of Transportation gets over $11.5 million to help the Port of Baltimore acquire all-electric locomotives along with $8 million for the Penn-Camden Connector project (overseen by its Maryland Transit Administration modal division) to support a new rail connection between the Maryland Area Rail Commuter Penn Line, on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, and the MARC Camden Line, on CSX Transportation’s Capital Subdivision. 
  • The Massachusetts Department of Transportation gets over $108 million for its Early Actions for the Inland Route project for various track, signal, grade crossing, and bridge improvements on the Inland Route corridor.
  • The Michigan Department of Transportation gets over $20 million help replace the Manistee River Bridge – originally built in 1888 – to increase the load rating of the structure to allow 286,000-lb. railcars, among other benefits.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation gets over $11.2 million for the Rebuilding Western Pennsylvania project, which will provide for various track-related improvements and upgrades to multiple grade crossings on approximately 220 track miles on the Buffalo & Pittsburg Railroad.
  • The South Dakota Department of Transportation gets over $24.7 million for the Sisseton Milbank Railroad Modernization project to replace 37 miles of the Sisseton Milbank Railroad, including the rehabilitation of one bridge. 
  • The Tennessee Department of Transportation gets over $23.7 million for the Tennessee Short Line Railroads Bridge Bundle, which includes the rehabilitation or replacement of approximately 42 bridges along 10 different short line railroads statewide.
  • The Vermont Agency of Transportation gets over $9.6 million for its Tri-State Regional Rail Upgrade project to improve sections of St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad’s 162-mile corridor in Vermont, resulting in increased safety and railcar load capacity from 263,000 lbs to the current industry standard of 286,000 lbs. 
  • The Washington State Department of Transportation gets over $72 million for its Washington State Rural Rail Rehabilitation Phase II project for a variety of track-related improvements, grade crossing upgrades, and other related infrastructure enhancements on the Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad.
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