FRA Opens up Another Pot of PTC Grants

The Federal Railroad Administration announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity on Sept. 12 for at least $46 million in Positive Train Control or PTC Systems grants. This NOFO represents the balance of the $250 million PTC Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements or CRISI program grants that remained after FRA made its initial selections in late August, the agency added.

Under this second solicitation, FRA said applications are due by 5 p.m. on Oct. 12, 30 days after the NOFO is published in the Federal Register.

Those grants aim to help fund the deployment of PTC systems technology for intercity passenger rail transportation, freight rail transportation, and commuter rail passenger transportation, the agency added. Eligible projects include: back office systems; wayside, communications and onboard hardware equipment; software; equipment installation; spectrum; any component, testing and training for the implementation of PTC Systems; and interoperability.

FRA also pointed out in a statement on Aug. 24 that its latest data – current as of June 30 – shows that 15 railroads have installed 100 percent of the required PTC system hardware, while 12 other railroads have installed between 95 and 99 percent of that hardware. On top of that, all of the railroads, except for one, that use spectrum-based PTC systems have “sufficient spectrum” to operate the technology.

FRA said its latest review indicates PTC systems are in revenue service demonstration or RSD or in full operation on approximately 37,705 route miles or 65 percent of the nearly 58,000 route miles that are subject to the PTC mandate.

“This expedited solicitation will provide commuter and intercity railroads an additional opportunity to request grant funds for positive train control,” said FRA Administrator Ronald Batory in a statement. “By reissuing these funds, FRA is showing our continued commitment to work with railroads and suppliers in fully implementing PTC.”

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