America’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has announced a list of 45 infrastructure projects that will share $326mn in grants.
The funds have been made available from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program and the Special Transportation Circumstances Program, for a variety of local railroad infrastructure projects in 29 states.
“These investments in intercity passenger and freight rail will benefit surrounding communities, make grade crossings safer and improve service reliability,” said US Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act authorised the CRISI Program, which funds a wide range of projects that improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail systems. Over one-third of the funds - more than $118 mn - were awarded to rural projects.
“These are the partnerships that help rural and urban communities thrive economically,” said FRA Administrator Ronald Batory. “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.”
As part of the $326mn announced, FRA is offering more than $2mn in Special Transportation Circumstances grant funds to the state of Alaska. These are also authorised by the FAST Act.
Among the largest awards $33mn was earmarked for Restoration & Initiation Projectsin Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to restore Intercity passenger rail services.
The Southern Rail Commission combines 20 Gulf Coast projects in three states, assisting efforts to establish twice daily intercity passenger rail service from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama, adding a Mobile station and improving grade crossings. Funds preliminary engineering and federal environmental reviews needed to upgrade track to connect Baton Rouge and New Orleans.