The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will fund up to $311.8 million in freight and passenger rail projects under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program.
The agency has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Funding comes from the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act.
The projects must improve transportation safety, efficiency, and reliability as authorized under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, officials said. Applications must include projects that address congestion, highway-rail grade crossings, the relocation of rail lines, improvements to intercity passenger rail, safety technology or upgrades to short line or regional railroad infrastructure.
“We’re committed to addressing the unmet transportation needs of rural areas, which face unique challenges in safety, infrastructure condition, and passenger and freight usage,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said in a news release. “I encourage all eligible parties to take full advantage of this funding opportunity.”
The CRISI grant program also directs investment to rural America, with at least 25 percent of available funds reserved for projects in rural communities.
The FRA will consider how projects support vital objectives, including enhancing economic vitality; leveraging federal funding; adopting life-cycle accounting; using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; and holding grantees accountable for achieving specific, measurable outcomes. Preference will be given to projects where the proposed federal share of total costs does not exceed 50 percent.
The FRA may also consider geographic diversity, diversity in the size of the systems receiving funding, the applicant’s receipt of other competitive awards, and projects located in or that support transportation service in qualified opportunity zones.
Also, $45 million of the $311.8 million is available for projects that require the acquisition of rights-of-way, track, or track structure to support developing new intercity passenger rail service routes.