The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Aug. 31 will publish a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) that provides nearly $362 million to eligible projects under the FY 2021 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) grant program, and to related railroad trespass prevention projects.
Eligible CRISI projects include those that reduce congestion; address highway-rail grade crossings; upgrade short line and regional railroad infrastructure; relocate rail lines; improve intercity passenger rail capital assets; target trespassing; enhance multi-modal connections; and facilitate service integration between rail and other modes, such as at ports or intermodal facilities, according to FRA.
The government agency noted that projects will be evaluated on how they foster safety and equitable economic strength; improve core assets and ensure racial equity and economic inclusion; address climate change and resilience; and modernize the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
The FY 2021 CRISI grant program will set aside:
• Not less than $93.7 million (or 25%) for rural projects.
• Not less than $75 million for eligible projects that support the development of new intercity passenger rail service routes, including alignments for existing routes.
• Not less than $25 million for capital projects and engineering solutions targeting rail trespassing.
FRA said the NOFO also includes non-CRISI funding for projects that help implement its National Strategy to Prevent Trespassing. Here is the breakdown:
• $2,034,296 for grants to fund “applicable law enforcement wages to undertake trespass enforcement activities.”
• $207,000 for grants to fund “targeted outreach campaigns to reduce the number of railroad-related suicides that involve trespassing.”
“CRISI is an opportunity to invest in safety and economic progress across the rail networks that support and connect America,” FRA Deputy Administrator Amit Bose said. “As the nation continues to recover from the pandemic, these projects will create jobs and improve communities. We expect applicants to address necessity, accountability, racial equity and climate change.”
FRA will host a FY21 CRISI webinar on Sept. 21, 2021, to aid eligible entities seeking funding. Additionally, the NOFO will be placed on public inspection at the Federal Register on Aug. 30. Download an unpublished version here:
For more on the importance of the CRISI program, read “Short Lines Need CRISI to Avoid a Crisis,” by Chuck Baker, President of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.