The Federal Railroad Administration awarded more than $326 million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements or CRISI grants to fund 45 railroad projects in 29 states, with nine state departments of transportation receiving funds for 12 projects.
FRA Administrator Ronald Batory noted in a statement on June 12 that the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act established the CRISI program, which funds projects that improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail systems – adding that more than $118 million of the $326 million in grants will fund rural projects.
“These are the partnerships that help rural and urban communities thrive economically,” he explained. “The participation of multiple partners demonstrates the importance of these funds and tells us they will be a key asset in improving safety for communities and railroads around the country.”
The Georgia Department of Transportation is getting four projects funded via this round of CRISI grants, the FRA noted, including:
- Up to $1.35 million to replace 20,000 crossties, install 8,750 tons of ballast, and resurface crossings as part of the Chattooga & Chickamauga Railway Rehabilitation Project.
- Over $2.6 million to upgrade 13 timber rail bridges, 5.45 miles of 85-pound rail to 115-pound rail, and replacing 11,000 crossties along the state-owned Georgia Southwestern Railroad rail line – allowing the track to support 286,000-pound rail cars and prevent derailments, closures and emergency repairs and costs.
- Up to $820,000 to upgrade track along the Heart of Georgia-Midville line between mile posts 162 and 161 to support 286,000-pound freight cars at speeds up to 25 mph.
- Over $1 million to upgrade the 22-mile, state-owned Ogeechee Railroad, replacing sections of 85-pound rail with 115-pound rail, replacing crossties and resurfacing ballast.
The other eight state DOTs receiving funding via this round of CRISI grants include:
- The Maine Department of Transportation will receive more than $17.4 million to modernize 75 miles of Pan Am Railway mainline track in central Maine, including replacing 37 miles of rail, upgrading 25 switches, upgrading 47 public and 42 private at-grade rail crossings, extending and upgrading an existing siding, replacing signal systems and replacing bridge deck timbers on eight rail bridges.
- The North Dakota Department of Transportation gets $400,000 to completes preliminary engineering and federal environmental reviews for the Minot Intermodal Facility.
- The Florida Department of Transportation won more than $17.6 million to upgrade switches, construct track, and improve rail communications technology to alleviate rail and road congestion through San Marco and over the St. John’s River rail bridge in Jacksonville without blocking grade crossings.
- The Illinois Department of Transportation got more than $19.2 million to upgrade and reconfigure the CSX Transportation, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad and Union Pacific track and signaling connections at Dolton Interlocking and improves nine at-grade crossings as part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency or CREATE public-private partnership.
- The North Carolina Department of Transportation garnered more than $34.8 million to expand rail freight service from the Port of Wilmington to Charlotte, which includes rehabilitating two railroad bridges over Cape Fear River and improving 33 at-grade crossings.
- The Rhode Island Department of Transportation received $2.8 million to Completes preliminary engineering and federal environmental review for a new Amtrak stop at TF Green airport in Warwick; the only airport adjacent to the Northeast Corridor that lacks direct access.
- The Utah Department of Transportation gained more than $6.8 million to relocate two miles of Union Pacific track that bisects Vineyard City, thereby eliminating three public crossings, two private crossings and two inactive crossings to make room for residential and commercial growth, including an intermodal bus and rail station.
- Finally, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation won more than $2.69 million to upgrade signal systems to centralized train control on approximately two miles of track surrounding the Milwaukee Intermodal Station on the state-supported Hiawatha Amtrak service – enabling the 20 freight trains and 16 passenger trains that travel track in that area on a daily basis to operate closer to permitted speeds.