The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Aug. 18 reported that it will make available more than $139 million for projects that upgrade and safeguard rail infrastructure in Alaska, South Dakota and Wyoming through the Special Transportation Circumstances (STC) grant program.
The STC program provides grants to states that lack intercity passenger rail service or are not connected to the national rail system. It covers projects such as upgrading avalanche safety systems, supporting lumber transport and installing culverts, according to FRA, which published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in the Federal Register (download below). Hawaii is ineligible.*
Funding is set aside from appropriations for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI), Restoration and Enhancement (R&E), Railroad Crossing Elimination (RCE), and Interstate Rail Compact (IRC) programs. Alaska is eligible for up to $15,654,566; South Dakota, $58,887,409; and Wyoming, $64,480,358. Awards may cover up to 80% of the total project cost, FRA reported.
Applications are due no later 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 29, 2023.
* According to FRA’s Aug. 18, 2023, NOFO: “There are currently four states that either do not have Intercity Passenger Rail service or are not physically connected to rail systems in the U.S.—Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, and Wyoming. However, as explained below, only three of these states (Alaska, South Dakota, and Wyoming) are allocated funds under 49 U.S.C. 22907(l).
“The amount of STC directed funding for the states is established by the definition of ‘appropriate portion’ in 49 U.S.C. 22907(l)(2). That section defines appropriate portion to mean a share, for each state, not less than the share of the total Railroad Route Miles in the state out of the total Railroad Route Miles in the U.S., excluding from all totals the route miles exclusively used for tourist, scenic, and excursion railroad operations.
“The calculations for each state’s available funding amounts follow. In the U.S., there are 136,776 Railroad Route Miles. Alaska has 506 Railroad Route Miles or 0.37 percent of the nation’s total, South Dakota has 1,822 Railroad Route Miles or 1.33 percent of the nation’s total, Wyoming has 1,877 Railroad Route Miles or 1.37 percent of the nation’s total, and Hawaii has zero Railroad Route Miles or zero percent of the nation’s total.”