The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a notice of funding opportunity on June 30 to make more than $573 million in fiscal year 2022 grants available for the new Railroad Crossing Elimination Program.
[Above photo by INDOT]
This new discretionary grant program – funded by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA enacted in November 2021 – seeks to improve safety and eliminate delays at railroad crossings nationwide.
The Federal Railroad Administration will oversee this program and ensure that at least 20 percent of its grants go to rural and tribal areas.
USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg noted in a statement that recent fatal railroad crossing incidents involving Amtrak trains in Missouri and California have “underscored the tragic consequences of collisions between trains and vehicles” that occur throughout the country. In 2021, there were approximately 2,148 such railroad grade crossing incidents, resulting in 236 deaths and 662 injuries.
“In too many communities across America, outdated railroad crossings are unsafe, result in lengthy wait times, and can even create significant delays in our supply chains,” he said.
“The Railroad Crossing Elimination Program will make many grade crossings safer or eliminate them altogether in the coming years,” added FRA Administrator Amit Bose.
He noted that the Railroad Crossing Elimination Program would fund projects that create grade separations – such as overpasses and underpasses – as well as closures, track relocations, and improvement or installation of warning devices at crossings if related to a separation or relocation project. Planning, environmental review, and other preliminary design elements are also eligible for grant funding.
FRA will evaluate project proposals based on their potential to improve safety by eliminating crossings or improving existing highway-rail grade crossings; increase access to emergency services; reduce emissions; provide economic benefit; and hire locally, among other possible community enhancements.