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Canada's Transport Minister Lisa Raitt kicked off Rail Safety Week yesterday by announcing Transport Canada will provide $9.7 million (in Canadian dollars) for improvements at 600 grade crossings across the nation.Funded through Transport Canada's Grade Crossing Improvement Program (GCIP), the crossings will be improved based on traffic volume, accident history and other factors. Improvements may include installing flashing lights and bells, installing gate barriers, linking crossing signals to traffic signals, upgrading light bulbs to brighter LED lights, or adding new circuits or timing devices. The agency will finance up to 50 percent of total eligible costs of crossing improvements, with the balance provided by railroads or road authorities, Transport Canada officials said in a press release.Transport Canada also provides funding through its Grade Crossing Closure Program (GCCP) to encourage closure of certain crossings. GCCP provides a $20,000 grant for a public crossing and a $5,000 grant for a private crossing in exchange for the road authority or private property owner relinquishing their rights to the crossing and closing it. In 2014-15, Transport Canada approved $165,000 in GCCP funding to close nine crossings.
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