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Federal funds available for grade crossing elimination or improvement

By | July 1, 2022

New grant program to offer more than $573 million in fiscal 2022

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U.S. Department of Transportation logo

U.S. Department of Transportation logoWASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation is offering more than $573 million in grant funding this fiscal year to address grade-crossing issues as part of its Railroad Crossing Elimination Program, created as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed and signed in November 2021.

The competitive discretionary grant program, administered by the Federal Railroad Administration, will fund grade-separation projects, as well as closures, track relocations, and improvement or installation of grade-crossing signals if related to a separation or relocation project. At least 20% of the funding will go to rural or tribal areas.

“In too many communities across America, outdated railroad crossings are unsafe, result in lengthy wait times, and can even create significant delays in our supply chains,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release. FRA Adminsitrator Amit Bose said the program “will make many grade crossings safer or eliminate them altogether in the coming years.”

The FRA will evaluate grant proposals based on their potential to improve safety by eliminating crossings or improving existing crossings; increase access to emergency services; reduce emissions; and other criteria.

The DOT says there were approximately 2,148 grade crossing incidents in 2021, resulting in 236 deaths and 662 injuries. The announcement comes just days after the fatal grade-crossing accident and collision involving Amtrak’s Southwest Chief that killed four people, three of them train passengers, as well as a grade-crossing incident in California that killed three people and injured four others in a vehicle.

More information on the program is available here, while the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the program is available here.

20 thoughts on “Federal funds available for grade crossing elimination or improvement

  1. In the ideal world it would great to eliminate rail crossings on some of these heavily used freights lines and corridors but costs would be huge and can be assumed that impacts to users would also be huge, especially in wide open spaces with large swaths of agriculture farmland needing access for say a large tractor and combine where every underpass would need to accomondate overwidth, oversize loads and or every overpass would maybe accomondate traffic counts that would be literally in single digits..

    Somewhere is balance on the ability to cut back on some of the at grade crossings but not sure how you get there in a lot of places.. I can see the competitive grant being skewed to best bang for the buck on safety but even then it would probably skewed towards heavily travel roadways.

  2. Agree Timothy. A town next to me eliminated two crossings on a county owned line. But not because of accidents but because of truckers taking a short cut an getting there low boy trailers hung up on the low clearance crossings.

  3. but eliminating all grade crossings is impossible think about all the intersections and places that are close to each other

    1. It’s not impossible. Just expensive. There is a difference. Clearly removing grade crossings from short line routes that are limited to 25mph wouldn’t necessarily make sense. But there should not be any on major main lines like the BSNF line used by the SW Chief and the UP line used by the San Joaquin.

  4. A big nod to our government for spending money wisely at home. Thanks to the passage of the infrastructure bill in November 2021, we are making progress which can only benefit our entire ground transportation safety system.
    Pete Buttigieg and the Biden Administration are showing positive results of working for ALL Americans. No revenge, bullying or narcissism is needed when an administration can work across the aisle and do good things for the citizens of our nation. Take a ride on the “Flying Crow” and have dinner Charles.

    1. If our federal government spent money wisely —– Yes it does, occasionally. They spend so much that its inevitable some fraction of it would go where it should.

      Buttigieg is the most incompetent high government official, other than Biden or Harris, that I ever heard of.

      As for our Democrat Party being for the working man nd the middle class, my cat Burlington could sit you down and explain how wrong you are.

      1. I sense you like spending free time arguing with dictionaries. 1 year and 6 months into a stable, presidential administration and you can’t acknowledge or give credit where credit is due. The previous “buffoon administration” is who you need to sic your pussy cat Burlington on! ha
        You have more negative, argumentative, and grouchy comments than anyone on this forum. You obviously cannot deal with a productive presidential administration. “Amtrak” Joe Biden and the Democrats are still working to repair and replace our broken, defunct infrastructure. They’re having to unnecessarily put up with a BROKEN PARTY that puts roadblock barriers up on any improvements trying to advance through this broken Congress. Good things can happen from people with good intentions for all Americans. Your party has become an altered, washed up, fallen, reality star (notice I said fallen), bullying, vengeful, lying, buffoon’s party excuse of a president whose balloons of hot air are being popped.
        Accept it Charley, this administration is moving on, with or without you and your never acknowledging any accomplishment self.
        Stop being so negative. We all have our viewpoints but there is absolutely no need to argue with someone in most all of your post. Be HAPPY and smile. Pray that intelligence will reign over today’s madness and civil discord.
        Read, enjoy and don’t destroy an administration that will never satisfy you! They are making progress and it ain’t a nice tax break for the wealthy…ha

        1. Well, I could argue each of your points, Ricky. Let’s stick with Amtrak, as in your corrupt, incomptent “Amtrak Joe”. Amtrak is in a shambles. If you can’t acknowledge that, I suggest you read the TRAINS MAGAZINE articles you comment on.

          1. Charles, I believe you’re old enough to remember the start of Amtrak and the administration that started it. It was given hand-me-down equipment from the participating railroads. If you understand Amtrak’s founding papers, you will realize it was intended to fail and fade away in a short time. The only serious money ever provided was under President Gunn and he did attempt giving passenger rail a breath of air. No administration wanted it. Congress certainly didn’t, but if long distance passenger trains ran through the district that elected them, they got funded…barely.
            You and pussy cat Burlington need not attempt teaching me anything about Amtrak. I’ve been around since its’ inception and I know the history. It is a government formed private entity. It has to have an honest and yes, generous operating subsidy. Spend the money and make it work for the people. We’re a joke compared to other civilized countries.
            Hire the tradesmen to build new passenger cars, pay them decent wages for honest work and see the possibilities and jobs that could be created. We need more passenger rail service. You can jump and scream about spending money on new routes and equipment. If our passenger routes were expanded to cities and areas of the country with no or slow service now, put the trains on and speed them up. Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Atlanta would rejoice if they had service. Multiple trains, faster trains, and fuller trains could be the norm. The railroads can’t scream about no capacity anymore because they’ve coupled up all their cars and pull them around their system as 1 train and call it PSR. Looking at the lines I mentioned in Tennessee and Georgia shows a lot of empty tracks, yards, customers and trains. It could be great for smaller runs, too. Look at the communities with no transportation option except walking. Just stop saying it can’t work. You’re not God and you aren’t always right. Now PLEASE take a deep breath, hold it and slowly breathe out. Let your orneriness and cloudy vision take a break. Read your TRAINS magazine, enjoy your subscription, have conversations and comment with us fellow subscribers in a less agitated state of mind. Nobody’s happy all the time. Nobody needs doom and gloom to consume their every waking moment.
            Support Amtrak and give possibilities an opportunity to happen without automatically shooting every good idea down. PLEASE
            I’m most thankful that more crossings will be warned of approaching trains. Amtrak Joe and Pete Buttigieg accomplished this and you can’t take it away from their legacy. Take your lemons and make lemonade.

  5. Our government spending money wisely at home LOL
    Working across the aisle as long as China is on the other side of the aisle.

    1. Daryl, I take that by China you are referring to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky along with his wife, Margaret Chao, his Chinese wife from one of the wealthiest families in China. she was our previous Secretary of Transportation during the buffoon administration. That’s the Chinese connection that I see while Mitch McConnell is in Congress.

      1. I think you mean Elaine Chao. Yes, she was born in ROC Taiwan but grew up since age 8 in Long Island NY. Yes, her father got wealthy in the shipping business.

        McConnell was already somewhat wealthy before he married Chao.

        If you want to find even more conspiracies, McConnells brother in law is married to Elaine’s younger sister Grace. He runs the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for the USG. She has a PhD in anthropology from Columbia.

        I think you need to run a check on your generalities. Not all people of Asian descent have the same political thoughts or goals.

      2. John, I humbly stand corrected on Elaine’s name fumble. I am and always have been accepting and respectful of all nationalities. I’m Native American. The point was the wealth factor at play in our political environment concerning China. Wealth, power and greed has corrupted our entire ability to self-rule.

        1. “Wealth, power and greed has corrupted our entire ability to self-rule.”

          While accurate, has been at work since our founding fathers signed the document. The means by which others attempt to do so has simply changed over the years.

  6. RICKY SYPERT — You mention freight-only lines to Nashville and other such cities. I’m quite familiar with that area, having been a regular visit although it’s likely I will never again go there after now.

    As a frequent – and enthusiastic – flyer, I think I see the inevitability of a ginormourmous federal bailout in the offing. Hardly Amtrak size, something far and away bigger. I’m not talking of the one-time COVID balout but rather ongoing. Of course it’s already started, with Essential Air Services, though no one talks about it while everyone talks about rail subsidies federal and local.

    Been to the Nashville Airport recently? Cape Air flies to Ownesboro (Kentucky), Madison (Illinois) and Corinth (Mississippi), in tiny airplanes with hardly more passengers (if sold out) than crew. Wonder what the farebox reovery is? One ticket won’t come close to the cost the airline incurs before the plane pushes back from the gate. So yes Ricky I conceded many of your points and I don’t think we’re far apart.

  7. Ricky, I was thinking more along the lines of Hunter and Fauci but your mentioning about flip flop Mitch is just a good reminder of why I dislike politicians and have a Defund Politicians t-shirt.
    OK back to railroading.

  8. Hey, Rickey, you must love the inflation. Come election day we will see how many agree with you.

  9. It sounds like there’s a grade-crossing or two on the BNSF Railway in Missouri that could use these new grade-crossing improvement funds ……

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