USDOT announces $59 million to improve railway crossing safety in four U.S. states
USDOT’s latest funding will be used to make highway-railway crossings safer for Americans – whether they are driving, cycling or walking – across the states of California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced $59 million in grant awards to help save lives with safer crossings in California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania. The grants are made possible by the FHWA’s Commuter Authority Rail Safety Improvement (CARSI) programme.
Grants for the four projects, awarded by FHWA in co-ordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA), will be used to make highway-rail crossings safer for all parties, including:
- Adding signal features that will help drivers move away from the track before a train arrives in Ventura County, Southern California
- Modernising 25 commuter rail crossings with improved lighting and other safety features in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties in Florida
- Improving accessibility and making warning system upgrades in Dutchess, Nassau, Putnam and Suffolk Counties in New York
- Installing gates and upgrading pavement markings in communities around Philadelphia.
“Safety is the number one priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation, especially as our country faces a crisis of fatalities on our roadways,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg. “Today’s grants, along with additional funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will improve safety at highway-rail crossings for travellers, whether they’re riding, driving, biking, or walking.”
“These grants show how multimodal co-ordination and investment will improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians traveling where roads and railways intersect,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator, Stephanie Pollack. “By making these resources available, we can help commuter rail operators mitigate the risks.”
“Making highway-rail grade crossings safer is a major goal for public transportation and is an important part of our programme to improve safety throughout the transit industry,” said FTA Administrator, Nuria Fernandez. “These grants are a big step to help keep people safe near highway-rail grade crossings.”
The CARSI competitive grant allocations consist of two rounds. In January 2021, USDOT awarded five grants totalling $40.2 million for CARSI Round One projects.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues funding for the FHWA Rail-Highway Crossings Program at $245 million per year for the next five years. It has also added several flexibilities, including a higher federal share and improved set-aside allowances such as increasing allocations for data collection and projects beyond protective devices. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also clarifies that funds are eligible for projects to reduce trespassing at rail crossings. In addition, the law increased Highway Safety Improvement Program funding by 34 per cent, under which rail crossings safety improvements are eligible.