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The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is seeking public comments on a draft freight plan, which is a supplement to the state's 2035 transportation plan. Comments will be accepted through Aug. 7.The draft freight plan is a comprehensive overview of the state's freight transportation system, including system performance, existing assets and investments required to ensure long-term success, MDOT officials said in a press release. The state defines freight as any good, product or raw material carried by commercial transportation modes, including rail, air, highway, water and pipeline.Designed to be a multi-modal and intermodal resource, the draft freight plan will provide an overall framework for Michigan's freight system improvements and priorities, including a list of projects that will improve freight mobility in the state, MDOT officials said.Meanwhile, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) yesterday announced it's accepting funding applications for projects designed to improve safety at grade crossings or along tracks.Limited to $20,000 per project, the funding will be provided through Washington state's Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF). Applications will be accepted through Jan. 1, 2015, and grant awards will be made as applications are received and approved by the commission. Rail safety improvement projects include installing gates and LED flashing lights at crossings, upgrading train warning devices and erecting fences to prevent trespassing on tracks. Projects will be selected for funding based on costs, the severity of the hazard and the resulting safety benefits.The UTC administers the GCPF, which was created in 1969 to provide funding for safety measures designed to decrease the potential for accidents and fatalities at public and private crossings, and along tracks in the state.
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