November 20, 2018
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The Federal Railroad Administration issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity for its Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements or CRISI program on July 19 that includes more than $318 million in grant monies.

FRA said in a statement that this specific NOFO will help fund projects aimed at improving intercity passenger and freight rail transportation safety, efficiency, and reliability. It also noted that those funds are authorized via the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, passed back on March 21 that is more commonly referred to as the “omnibus spending bill.”

The agency noted, however, that funding to aid in the deployment of positive train control or PTC systems – totaling some $250 million – is provided under a separate NOFO that was published back on May 15 of this year.

FRA said the CRISI grant program also directs “much needed critical investment” to rural America with at least 25 percent of available funds to be dedicated towards efforts to “safely connect and upgrade rural America’s rail infrastructure.”

The agency added that “selection preference” under this NOFO will be given to projects with a 50-percent non-federal funding match from any combination of private, state, or local funds. FRA will also consider how well projects align with “key objectives” that include: supporting economic vitality; leveraging federal funding; preparing for life-cycle costs; using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; and holding grant recipients accountable for achieving specific, measurable outcomes.

FRA also plans to host two webinars on August 8 this year to help “eligible entities” seek funding, noting that applications for capital project funding via this NOFO due no later than 5:00 p.m. up to 60 days after the date of its publication in the Federal Register.

editor@aashto.org

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