KANSAS CITY, Mo. — President Biden and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Thursday that more than $573 million is available in grant funding for the Railroad Crossing Elimination Program administered by the Federal Railroad Administration.
The announcement comes after a week in which two fatal crashes occurred in as many days.
The goal of the Railroad Crossing Elimination Program is to “help improve safety, eliminate lengthy delays at railroad crossings in communities across the country and ultimately lower the costs of transporting goods,” according to a USDOT news release.
UDSOT reports 20% of the funding will be reserved for rural and Tribal areas.
Grant money would support infrastructure like overpasses and underpasses. Additionally, the funds are to be used to support projects including closures, track locations, warning device improvement or installation, planning, environmental review and preliminary design elements.
Proposals will be evaluated based partially on the following criteria:
- Potential to improve safety
- Specifically by eliminating crossings or improving existing highway-rail grade crossings
- Increased access to emergency services
- Whether emissions can be reduced
- Economic benefit
- Ability to hire locally
“The Railroad Crossing Elimination Program will make many grade crossings safer or eliminate them altogether in the coming years,” Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Amit Bose said in a news release. “The projects funded by the program demonstrate the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s lasting impact on communities by strengthening their infrastructure, reducing congestion, and saving lives.”
In 2021, there were about 2,148 grade crossing incidents that led to 236 deaths and 662 injured persons, according to USDOT.