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Rail News: Communication and Signal

Ohio, Washington offer funds to upgrade or close crossings


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine yesterday announced the availability of $100 million in state funding to help communities eliminate dangerous grade crossings.

There are about 5,700 crossings in Ohio. To be provided through a new Ohio Rail Crossing Elimination Program, the funding will target projects designed to close crossings. Matching funds will be required for additional support from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Ohio officials said in a press release.

“Railroad grade crossing projects can be complex and expensive, and without state assistance, most communities do not have the resources to develop them. This program will provide support to get these projects moving in the right direction," said DeWine.

Since the FRA began collecting blocked crossing data in late 2019, more than 10,500 blocked crossing reports have been filed in Ohio. 

Municipalities can submit crossing elimination projects to the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC), which will identify the projects with the most optimal opportunities for federal funding and assist in developing federal grant applications for the sites.

“Eliminating grade crossings has a ripple effect on safety for motorists, train operators and first responders, who are often delayed by blocked crossings,” said ORDC Chairman Scott Corbitt.

Meanwhile, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) last week announced it's accepting applications for Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) grants for projects aimed at reducing public safety hazards at crossings and along track in Washington state. Applications will be accepted until March 2025, or until the funding is depleted.

The UTC will award the grants to railroads, local governments and other agencies that seek to upgrade safety at a crossing or along rights of way, commission officials said in a press release. Funding is also available for safety improvements at passive public and private crossings.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/6/2023