The $73 million in available funding will be dispersed through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant program and the Restoration and Enhancement Grants program. The grant money was authorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. FRA says the grants are expected to leverage private, state and local investments to boost a wide range of rail projects, including the potential for implementing PTC, improving highway-rail grade crossings, mitigating congestion, repairing or replacing railroad assets and enhancing intercity passenger rail transportation.
FRA explains that at least 25 percent, or $17 million, of CRISI’s $68 million in funding will be used for rural projects like highway-rail grade crossing improvement projects. Another $10 million is available for certain capital projects such as rail line relocation and improvement or grade separation projects that contribute to the safe initiation or restoration of intercity passenger rail service. A portion of funding from the CRISI and Restoration and Enhancement programs—$2.2 million set-aside for Special Transportation Circumstances—is directed to grants for freight or intercity passenger rail capital projects in Alaska, South Dakota and Wyoming.