Feds dole out $25M to improve safety at railroad crossings

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) doled out $25 million in grants on Monday to improve safety at hundreds of railroad crossings, train stations and tracks across the country.

A total of 23 projects in 14 states and the District of Columbia won funding, which was made available through last year’s government funding bill.

{mosads}The FRA said it received 40 eligible applications requesting a total $67.5 million,  nearly three times the available amount.

The federal grants are aimed at enhancing the safety of railroad infrastructure through upgrades to railroad crossings and improvements to track, bridges, rail yards and tunnels.

“It is vitally important that we invest in safety as rail continues to play an increasingly larger role in this country, transporting tons of freight and millions of passengers each day,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “These grants will help address some of the improvements that are crucial to ensuring safe, reliable and efficient railroad networks.”

New York stands to receive a large portion of the funding to help upgrade more than 50 crossings along the Metro-North and Long Island railroads after a string of fatal Metro-North incidents.

The state’s Department of Transportation will receive $1.34 million to add highway traffic signal preemption to seven grade crossings; $1.90 million to fund installing upgrades to three grade crossings to reduce hazardous conditions between highway and rail traffic; and $1.91 million to install cameras to record grade crossing movements at 43 grade crossings to investigate specific incidents and analyze traffic operations.

“Preventing accidents at railroad crossings is an issue all across the country,” FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg said at a press event in New York on Monday. “Some states drag their feet. Other states just blame the drivers. New York is leaning forward and doing something about it.”

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