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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) late last week unveiled a notice of funding opportunity for up to $311.8 million in capital projects under the Consolidated Rai Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.
With funding provided in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, the federal dollars can be used for freight- and passenger-rail projects that improve safety, efficiency and reliability. Eligible applications for competitive selection include projects that address congestion and grade crossings; upgrade short line or regional infrastructure; relocate rail lines; improve intercity passenger-rail capital assets; and deploy rail safety technology.
At least 25 percent of available funds are reserved for projects in rural communities.
"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 Batory in a press release.
In addition, $45 million of the $311.8 million is available for projects that require the acquisition of rights of way, track or track structure to support developing new intercity passenger-rail service routes.
FRA officials will consider how projects support key objectives, including how they enhance economic vitality; leverage federal funding; adopt life-cycle accounting; use innovative approaches to improving safety and expediting project delivery; and hold grantees accountable for achieving specific, measurable outcomes.
Preference will be given to projects in which the proposed federal share of total costs does not exceed 50 percent, FRA officials said.
Applications are due June 19. They must be submitted through grants.gov.