First Look: Rail-Related RAISE Grantees for FY22

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
“We are proud to support so many outstanding infrastructure projects in communities large and small, modernizing America’s transportation systems to make them safer, more affordable, more accessible, and more sustainable,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said during the FY22 RAISE program grant announcement.

“We are proud to support so many outstanding infrastructure projects in communities large and small, modernizing America’s transportation systems to make them safer, more affordable, more accessible, and more sustainable,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said during the FY22 RAISE program grant announcement.

More than $332 million in FY 2022 RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) program grants will be distributed among 23 freight and passenger rail-related projects in 17 states, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) report released Aug. 11.

USDOT in January issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the RAISE program; grants are for planning and capital investments that not only support rail, but also roads, bridges, transit, ports or intermodal transportation.

This year’s allocations include more than $2.2 billion for 166 projects—up from 2021’s $1.0 billion for 90 projects. This is due to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), which provides the RAISE program with an additional $7.5 billion over five years, according to USDOT.

All projects were evaluated on several criteria, including safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness and opportunity, partnership and collaboration, innovation, state of good repair, and mobility and community connectivity. Within these areas, USDOT said it considered how projects “will improve accessibility for all travelers, bolster supply chain efficiency, and support racial equity and economic growth—especially in historically disadvantaged communities and areas of persistent poverty.”

Additionally, half of the funding was designated for projects in rural areas, and half for projects in urban areas. The largest grant award was $25 million, according to USDOT, which noted that per statute, no more than $341.25 million could be awarded to a single state in this round of funding.

“We are proud to support so many outstanding infrastructure projects in communities large and small, modernizing America’s transportation systems to make them safer, more affordable, more accessible, and more sustainable,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this year we are supporting more projects than ever before.”

Rail-related RAISE projects (by state) include:

  • Alabama: SHOALS AREA RAILROAD OVERPASS IN COLBERT COUNTY — NORTHWEST ALABAMA COUNCIL OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: The $2 million grant will be used to produce a corridor study and design for the Norfolk Southern at-grade crossing near Montgomery Avenue in Sheffield.
  • Arizona: 22ND STREET REVITALIZATION PROJECT — CITY OF TUCSON: The $25 million grant will be used to improve approximately 0.85 miles of 22nd Street from Kino Parkway to Tucson Boulevard; replace an existing 1960s-era bridge over Union Pacific and State Route 210; expand 22nd Street from four lanes to six lanes with a divided median; and construct a separate bicycle and pedestrian bridge. “Additionally, by providing more vertical clearance for the Class I railroad, the project will eliminate a bottleneck for freight movement and allow for future rail expansion at this rail hub,” according to USDOT.
  • California: MARITIME SUPPORT FACILITY ACCESS/TERMINAL ISLAND RAIL SYSTEM — PORT OF LOS ANGELES: The $20 million grant will be used to construct “a four-lane, rail-roadway grade separation that will eliminate a significant truck access impediment to an important container terminal support facility located on Terminal Island, at the center of Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach (POLA-POLB).” According to USDOT, the “project will significantly reduce delays, accidents and emissions at the POLA-POLB, which handles 35% of all waterborne containers entering the United States. The current total truck delays caused by the crossing are estimated to be 580 minutes a day. …”
  • California: CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL: MERCED EXTENSION DESIGN PROJECT – CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL AUTHORITY (CHSRA): Using the $25 million grant, this “planning project will fund design efforts including the completion of a configuration footprint, mapping right of way, identifying utility relocation agreements, and other necessary third-party agreements for the Merced Extension of the California High-Speed Rail project,” according to USDOT. The project is slated to design civil infrastructure, track and systems, and station platforms from Madera to Merced, on the Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield early operating segment. According to CHSRA, the new funding “will provide more than half of the expected $41 million cost for the Madera to Merced design contract.”
  • California: INGLEWOOD TRANSIT CONNECTOR PROJECT – CITY OF INGLEWOOD: The $15 million grant will be used to complete an approximately 1.6-mile fully-elevated, automated transit system with three stations to fill “a critical gap in the region’s transit system, on segments along Market Street, Manchester Boulevard, and Prairie Avenue,” according to USDOT. “The project will provide important first-/last-mile connectivity between the K-Line Metro and places of interest, such as the Forum/SoFi Arena, residential areas of Inglewood, and employment centers.”
  • Florida: PORT MIAMI NET ZERO PROGRAM: CARGO MOBILITY OPTIMIZATION AND RESILIENCY PROJECT – COUNTY OF MIAMI-DADE: The project will use the $16 million grant to help expand intermodal rail capacity and to work on cargo gate optimization. The rail capacity component covers construction of two new tracks approximately 3,200 feet long; acquisition of three new electric, rubber-tired cranes; reconstruction of apron areas on all sides of the track; installation of LED lights; and reconstruction of the stormwater drainage system. The cargo gate optimization component is slated to include roadway realignments to and from the cargo gates; rehabilitation of the stormwater management system; cargo gate canopies; staging areas for trucks; direct access to rail yard gates; and gate technology upgrades.
  • Florida: EAST COAST CORRIDOR TRESPASSING AND INTRUSION MITIGATION PROJECT – FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: An approximately $25 million grant will be used for the final design and construction of supplemental safety measures at targeted locations along 195 miles of the shared-use Florida East Coast Railway/Brightline railway corridor, according to USDOT. These include fencing and landscaping improvements, delineators and roadway striping, rail dynamic envelopes (RDE), crisis support signs, and “Do Not Stop on Tracks” signs. “The project will reduce vehicle collisions and trespassing along a dangerous corridor, estimated by the applicant [Florida DOT] at more than 140 avoided collisions over the next 20 years,” USDOT reported.
  • Illinois: HARVEY INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER — PACE SUBURBAN BUS DIVISION OF THE REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY: The $20 million grant will be used to reconstruct existing bus transfer and rail station facilities into a “cohesive intermodal transit facility,” according to USDOT. It will reconfigure the existing bus facility to improve access to the Metra commuter rail station; construct 14 new bus bays for fixed routes and 4 layover bus bays; create a paratransit vehicle boarding area; and add a dedicated lane for riders disembarking. At the Metra station, the project includes modernizing amenities and replacing the existing elevated platform. The platform will be heated and extended by approximately 36 feet to allow all railcar doors to open. Also, two existing parking lots will be replaced with one 226-space lot, which will include more ADA parking and access.
  • Illinois: SPRINGFIELD RAIL IMPROVEMENTS PROJECT — CITY OF SPRINGFIELD: The nearly $20 million grant will be used to construct a new railroad grade separation underpass at North Grand Avenue over the Norfolk Southern and Illinois Midland rail lines.
  • Louisiana: DOWNTOWN BATON ROUGE AND GONZALES TRAIN STATION PROJECT — CITY OF GONZALES: The $20 million grant will be used to acquire right-of-way, and design and construct the Baton Rouge and Gonzales passenger rail stations along the planned Baton Rouge-New Orleans (BR-NO) intercity rail service route, to be served by Amtrak, according to USDOT. The project also includes construction of ADA accessible platforms and supporting infrastructure.
  • Maryland: NEW CARROLLTON MULTI-MODAL TRANSPORTATION STATION PROJECT — PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY: The nearly $21 million grant will be used to improve the New Carrollton Station. The project includes a new train hall for the existing MARC, Metrorail rapid transit (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority/WMATA), and Amtrak service, incorporating connections to Metrobus (WMATA), TheBus, and Greyhound bus services, and the future Maryland Purple Line light rail service. It will also include new sidewalks, bike lanes, lighting, signalization, and improvements on Garden City Drive.
  • Michigan: NORTHERN MICHIGAN RAIL PLANNING PHASE II STUDY AND SERVICE DEVELOPMENT PLAN — CADILLAC/WEXFORD TRANSIT AUTHORITY: The $1.3 million grant will be used to develop a plan that considers new train services through fifteen counties between southeast Michigan and northern lower Michigan.
  • Mississippi: YAZOO CITY MAIN STREET REVITALIZATION PROJECT —YAZOO CITY: The nearly $13 million grant will be used to construct a train station; develop a “stormwater park to capture and absorb excessive stormwater and flooding”; and provide a “complete streets” redevelopment, including bike lanes, sidewalks, lighting, broadband infrastructure, and stormwater management along Main Street, according to USDOT.
  • Mississippi: TUPELO RAIL IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM (TRIP) — CITY OF TUPELO: The nearly $1.5 million grant will be used for the planning and engineering of a highway overpass at Eason Boulevard and the Kansas City Southern crossing; move BNSF switching operations away from the intersection at Main and Gloster streets; and develop two separate Quiet Zones along the BNSF line.
  • Nevada: VICTORY INFRASTRUCTURE — CITY OF FERNLEY: The $25 million grant will be used to complete the Nevada Pacific Parkway connection from I-80 to Highway 50. “Specifically, the project will fund the Nevada Pacific Parkway roadway and bridge component, including a new switch off the Union Pacific main line railroad (Segment la) and the segment of lead rail from that new switch to the point of connection of the first switch (Segment lb) of three that will create a rail switching yard,” USDOT reported. “Through road, bridge and rail improvements, the project will deliver industrial lead access to the entire Victory Logistics District industrial park. The project creates an inland port with capacity for rail switching that will create more capacity with dual access to Union Pacific and BNSF rail lines, increasing supply chain efficiency and helping to lower to costs of goods.”
  • North Carolina: NEW INTERMODAL FACILITY-PORT OF WILMINGTON — NORTH CAROLINA STATE PORTS AUTHORITY: The approximately $18 million grant will be used to “construct a state-of-the-art area for loading and discharging containers on and off the rail at the Port of Wilmington,” according to USDOT. It includes construction of four dedicated rail sidings; paving approximately 9.7 acres around the rail sidings; deployment of three specialized and dedicated “reach stackers” to unload/load railcars; and “a secured area near the U.S. Customs and Border Protection required Radiation Portals, and technology system enhancements.” The project is slated to divert nearly 250,000 containers from truck to rail over the next decade.
  • North Carolina: NORTH CAROLINA REGIONAL S-LINE MOBILITY HUB PLAN — TOWN OF WAKE FOREST: TThe $3.4 million grant will be used for the “planning of mobility hubs in seven communities along the passenger rail S-Line,” USDOT said. “The planning activities include feasibility and site assessments for all the partner communities, NEPA compliance, and preliminary engineering for four of the seven communities.”
  • Oklahoma: SH-37 BNSF GRADE SEPARATION AND MULTIMODAL IMPROVEMENTS — OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: The $10 million grant will be used to facilitate grade separation from SH-37 and a BNSF crossing, as well as support construction of multimodal bridge and multi-use paths, according to USDOT.
  • Texas: IMPROVED BICYCLE/ PEDESTRIAN ROUTES TO RAIL & TRANSIT TECHNOLOGY UPGRADES — NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS: The $25 million grant will be used to construct more than 30 miles of sidewalk in the half-mile radius of Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s 8th & Corinth, Morrell, Illinois, and Kiest stations. “It will also extend the Cedar Crest Trail approximately 1.5 miles, and improve transit accommodations with upgrades and safety features at nearby bus stops on DART route 217 and Blue Line light rail stations, including Kiest, VA Medical Center, and Morrell,” USDOT reported.
  • Utah: PLANNING AND OPTIMIZING A MULTI-MODAL LOGISTICS CENTER IN SOUTHERN UTAH — UTAH INLAND PORT AUTHORITY: The $445,000 grant will be used for a market assessment and business case analysis for a multimodal logistics center and related infrastructure needs. “The project will eventually result in the construction of the multimodal logistics center that will reduce truck transport and expand the capabilities of the freight rail movement,” USDOT reported.
  • Vermont: TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR NORTHWEST VERMONT — CHITTENDEN COUNTY REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: The $2.1 million grant will be used to develop a comprehensive plan for transit-oriented development for 12 communities across a five-county region in northwest Vermont, according to USDOT, which noted that the project will also “support plans for improved bus services and/or commuter rail.”
  • Washington: PINES ROAD/BNSF GRADE SEPARATION PROJECT — CITY OF SPOKANE VALLEY: The nearly $22 million grant will be used to replace the highway/rail at-grade crossing at Pines Road (State Route 27) and BNSF with a new Pines Road underpass. The project is slated to replace the signalized intersection of two state highways, Pines Road (SR 27) and Trent Avenue (SR 290), with a multi-lane roundabout, and construct a separated shared-use path under the railroad crossing and an adjacent shared-use path around the new roundabout intersection. The project will also construct a new trailhead and parking lot facility.
  • Wyoming: LINCOLN COUNTY RURAL PLANNING PROJECT — COUNTY OF LINCOLN: The nearly $2 million grant will be used to “find areas ripe for freight rail access, determine optimum locations for charging and/or fueling stations for anyone utilizing electric vehicles, and study the addition of public transit for the rural area,” USDOT reported.


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