US Department of Transportation makes available $311.8 million for capital rail projects

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on Friday for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program.

“We’re committed to addressing the unmet transportation needs of rural areas, which face unique challenges in safety, infrastructure condition, and passenger and freight usage,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “I encourage all eligible parties to take full advantage of this funding opportunity.”

With funding provided in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, this NOFO will fund up to $311.8 million in freight and passenger rail projects that improve transportation safety, efficiency, and reliability as authorized under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act. Eligible applications for competitive selection include projects that address congestion challenges, highway-rail grade crossings, upgrade short line or regional railroad infrastructure, relocate rail lines, improve intercity passenger rail capital assets, and deploy railroad safety technology.

The CRISI grant program also directs investment to rural America, with at least 25 percent of available funds reserved for projects in rural communities.

FRA will consider how projects support key objectives, including enhancing economic vitality; leveraging federal funding; adopting life-cycle accounting; using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; and holding grantees accountable for achieving specific, measurable outcomes. Preference will be given to projects where the proposed federal share of total costs does not exceed 50 percent.

FRA may also consider geographic diversity; diversity in the size of the systems receiving funding; the applicant’s receipt of other competitive awards; and projects located in, or that support transportation service in, qualified opportunity zones.

In addition, $45 million of the $311.8 million is available for projects eligible under 49 U.S.C. 22907(c)(2) that require the acquisition of rights-of-way, track, or track structure to support developing new intercity passenger rail service routes.

Applications for funding under this NOFO are due 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. Following publication, FRA will offer web-based training and technical assistance for eligible applicants.

More information is available online. 
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