FRA awards more than $130 million in CRISI grants to passenger rail projects

June 3, 2022
The program awarded more than $368 million in grants to 46 total projects including nine passenger rail related projects.

More than $368 million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grants have been awarded to 46 rail projects by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The grant awards include 11 passenger rail projects that will benefit from more than $130 million in funding.

The CRISI grant program aims to advance intercity passenger and freight rail projects that promote FRA’s key goals of safety, economic growth, transportation equity and sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

FRA says the projects this round of CRISI grants fund will improve and expand passenger rail, invest in new technology, increase supply chain resilience and fluidity and help create jobs through the support of workforce development and training activities.

One example of this is the up to $4.6 million grant awarded to the University of Delaware to partner with Morgan State University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Baltimore, Md., to create a railroad engineering program that would serve as a model for expansion of similar programs to other HBCUs.

“This round of CRISI grants – one of the largest ever – is a major step forward for the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to revitalize and rebuild the country’s infrastructure,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “These awards will allow FRA to support rail projects that lay the groundwork for future economic growth.”

The passenger rail projects to see grants include:

  • North Carolina Department of Transportation was awarded up to $57.9 million for the Raleigh to Richmond (R2R) Corridor Infrastructure Engineering & Safety Program that will perform surveys and complete preliminary engineering for R2R Corridor Program improvements between Raleigh, N.C., and Richmond, Va.
  • The city of San Jose, Calif., was awarded up to $7.5 million for the Southern San Jose Grade Separations (Monterey Road) to fund preliminary engineering and environmental reviews needed for grade separations at three existing at-grade crossings at Skyway Drive, Branham Land and Chynoweth Avenue in San Jose, Calif.
  • San Jose State University Research Foundation was awarded up to $4.67 million for the Climate Change and Extreme Events Training and Research (CCEETR) Program. The CCEETR program’s objective is to conduct research, education and technology transfer activities to improve the rail network’s safety and resilience against extreme events.
  • Rutgers University was awarded up to $582,859 to develop and demonstrate an artificial intelligence-based method to detect and assess trespassing incidents. Amtrak, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Dover and Rockaway River Railroad will support the work to demonstrate this technology at five at-grade crossings in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Louisiana.
  • Connecticut Department of Transportation was awarded up to $13.9 million for the Enfield Station and Track Improvements project that will conduct environmental review, preliminary engineering, final design and construction of a new station to accommodate increased service as part of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program.
  • Amtrak was awarded up to $8 million for the Mechanical Craft Workforce Development Apprenticeship Training Program. The funds will support a three-year Mechanical Craft Workforce Development Apprenticeship Training Program that the railroad says will provide professional development opportunities for current and future employees.
  • Brightline Trains Florida, LLC was awarded up to $15.875 million for the Tampa to Orlando High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Project. Brightline will advance preliminary engineering activities to support Phase 3 of the Brightline system that will construct a 67-mile extension from Orlando to Tampa.
  • Massachusetts Department of Transportation was awarded up to $1.75 million for the Springfield Area Track Reconfiguration Project that will develop preliminary engineering and environmental clearance for track, signal and infrastructure improvements around Springfield Union Station in Springfield, Mass. The work includes additional platforms, crossover tracks, storage tracks, a new layover facility and other work to support the Amtrak Springfield Line, CSX Boston Albany Line and small segments of the former Armory Branch and the Knowledge Corridor.
  • Virginia Passenger Rail Authority was awarded up to $6.36 million for the Ettrick Station Improvements that will construct an ADA-compliant platform and other improvements to the existing station in Ettrick, Va.
  • Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) was awarded up to $10 million for the Pierce County Rail Capacity and Reliability Improvement Project. The funding will allow the authority to complete preliminary engineering and environmental review for track and signal improvements to increase passenger and freight rail capacity in the Pacific Northwest High Speed Rail Corridor between Tacoma, Lakewood and DuPont, Wash.
  • Washington State Department of Transportation was awarded up to $3.8 million for the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor Reliability – Landslide Mitigation Phase IV Project that proposes to reduce landslide blocking events with the installation of catchment walls at three locations between Seattle and Everett, Wash., on track owned by Class 1 railroad BNSF. Stakeholders say the project addresses landslide hazards and builds on prior investments to enhance the safety, reliability and predictability of passenger rail service on the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor.

FRA notes $87.6 million in grants awarded in this round will go to projects that support the development of new intercity passenger rail service and $25.7 million will go to capital projects or engineering solutions targeting trespassing, exceeding the required statutory minimums.

"Americans deserve a world-class rail system that allows people and goods to get where they need to go more quickly and affordably, while reducing traffic and pollution on our roads," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "We're proud to award these grants to improve passenger rail for riders and strengthen the freight rail that makes our supply chains and our economy work."

The CRISI Grant program nearly tripled in funding with the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is authorized to award up to $1 billion per year through Fiscal Year 2026.

A full list of CRISI grant recipients, as well as project descriptions is available on FRA's website

Federal Railroad Administration
Fralogo 11071436