On September 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) selected 50 rail renovation projects in 29 states to receive competitive grant funding under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program.
Of the 50 projects that were awarded grants, 32 are located in Opportunity Zones, which were created to revitalize economically distressed communities using private investments.
The projects selected include a wide variety of railroad investments that improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of freight and intercity passenger service.
“This $320.6 million federal investment will upgrade U.S. rail infrastructure and enhance rail safety in communities across America,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Nine of the projects were selected to specifically address safety at highway-rail grade crossings, and deter illegal trespassing, which is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in America.
Other projects expand, upgrade, or rehabilitate railroad track, switches, yard, and station facilities to increase performance and service delivery.
“We remain committed to helping address pressing transportation capital needs, particularly in rural areas,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory.
“I am pleased that so many high-quality applications were submitted for worthwhile investments by the FRA,” Batory added.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act authorized the CRISI Program to improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail systems.
Rural projects, which have a minimum 25 percent funding requirement under the CRISI Program, received over 60 percent of the funds. Since 2017, over $1.2 billion has been awarded through the CRISI program to improve rail infrastructure.
The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) soliciting applications for this round of CRISI Program grant funding was published in the Federal Register on April 20, 2020. FRA subsequently provided web-based training and technical assistance for eligible applicants.