WASHINGTON – Federal Railroad Administrator (FRA) Allan Rutter today announced the award of approximately $5.4 million in grants to 10 states to enhance the safety of public and private highway-grade crossings along federally-designated high-speed rail corridors.
“The Bush Administration remains committed to improving the safety of our nation’s highway-rail grade crossings, including those in communities along federally-designated high- speed rail corridors,” said Rutter. “While these grants provide our state partners with greater resources with which to enhance grade crossing safety, more work remains. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to continue the collective advances in safety benefiting our nation’s railroad employees and the communities through which they operate.”
Under the terms of the grants, all public and private highway-rail grade crossings along designated corridors are eligible for the funding of a number of hazard elimination activities including: crossing closure, crossing consolidation or grade separation; installation or upgrade of automated warning devices to include bells, flashing lights and/or gates; improvements to track circuitry, crossing surface upgrades, crossing sight distances or illumination; installation of advanced train control or traffic control systems; and other related project development and engineering activities.
Fiscal Year 2002 allocations are being awarded to 10 states along five designated high-speed rail corridors. They are:
- California Corridor: California $200,000
- Chicago Hub Corridor: Minnesota 250,000
- Ohio 163,000
- Wisconsin 250,000
- Gulf Coast Corridor: Louisiana 200,000
- Mississippi 1,417,000
- Alabama 383,000
- Southeast Corridor: South Carolina 800,000
- Virginia 250,000
- Empire Corridor: New York 1,500,000
- Total: $5,413,000
Rutter added, “A by-product of this grant program is our ability to incorporate new and innovative strategies for reducing grade crossing incidents and the deaths and injuries that so often accompany them. Such advances are typified by the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s ongoing Sealed Corridor initiative.”
The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) expanded the highway-rail grade crossing hazard elimination program, which began with the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). The Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), both agencies of the U.S. Department of Transportation, jointly manage the program.
Since 1993, funding under this program has resulted in improvements to nearly 300 highway-rail crossings, the closure of 116 highway grade crossings, and aided in the design and construction of five grade separation projects.
The federal share of costs for improvements funded under the hazard elimination program may be up to 100 percent of the total engineering and construction costs. The funds will be used with other federal and state grade crossing funding to safely accelerate the implementation of high-speed rail corridors.