U.S. DOT announces rail funding, ferry service grant opportunity

48

The U.S. DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced more than $56.9 million in grant funding for 18 projects in 16 states. The funding will improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail systems under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.

“These funds will help repair and upgrade rail infrastructure that will increase safety and service,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

CRISI grants invest in rail infrastructure. The Department’s Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) reserved at least 25% of the awards for rural projects. The 2017 Appropriations Act required $10 million for projects that contribute to the restoration or initiation of intercity passenger rail service.

FRA considered several criteria as stated in the NOFO when selecting projects. These included key departmental objectives, such as supporting economic vitality; leveraging federal funds to attract other sources of funding; preparing for project lifecycle costs; using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; and holding recipients accountable for achieving specific, measurable, outcomes.

The proposed project will implement a grade crossing consolidation plan and other grade crossing improvements along a 19-mile segment in southwest Missouri. Five crossings will be closed and nine additional crossings will receive safety improvements, including active warning devices and gates, vertical and horizontal geometric improvements, adjacent roadway intersections, crossing surfaces, accessible sidewalks, pavement marking, security fencing, and drainage.

Meanwhile, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the opportunity to apply for approximately $30 million in Fiscal Year 2019 competitive grant funding for passenger ferry projects nationwide.

The Passenger Ferry Grant Program is authorized by Congress for projects that develop and support ferry service on many of the nation’s waterways, including the purchase, repair, and modernization of ferry boats, terminals, and related facilities that communities depend on.

FTA will award competitive grants to states and public entities to purchase, repair, or modernize ferry boats, terminals, and related facilities and equipment, supporting existing ferry service and the establishment of new passenger ferry service.

Projects will be evaluated and selected based on criteria outlined in the NOFO, including the need for improvements, demonstration of benefits to transit service, and integration with local and regional long-term planning. Applications will be accepted until April 15, 2019.