The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) that provides up to $50 million in grants for commuter rail agencies working to improve safety at highway-rail crossings. Applications will be accepted until Oct. 26, 2020.
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2020, appropriated $50 million to be awarded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) through the Commuter Authority Rail Safety Improvement (CARSI) Grants Program.
Under CARSI, the FHWA—in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA)—will provide competitive grants to commuter rail authorities working to eliminate hazards at highway-rail crossings. Eligible projects include those that separate or protect grades at crossings; rebuild existing railroad grade crossing structures; relocate highways to eliminate grade crossings; and eliminate hazards posed by blocked grade crossings due to idling trains.
By statute, an eligible commuter authority must have experienced at least one accident investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2018, and for which the NTSB issued an accident report.
“Safety is always our top priority at the Department under the leadership of Secretary Chao,” said Federal Highway Administrator Nicole R. Nason. “These grants will help our state, local and regional transportation partners better protect the lives of those traveling on America’s roads and rails.”
“FRA is always working toward a benchmark of zero fatalities at railway crossings, and such safety improvements to our nation’s infrastructure will go a long way toward that goal,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Ronald Batory.
“Working together with FHWA and FRA, we can improve safety around highway-rail crossings and prevent collisions, injuries and fatalities,” said FTA Deputy Administrator K. Jane Williams. “Rail safety includes encouraging safe behavior around all rail crossings; it’s about making sure the American public is safe near all rail tracks.”