Counties directly eligible for $2.4 billion through USDOT rail safety improvement program

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Jessica Jennings

Legislative Director – Transportation | Rural Action Caucus
Charlotte Mitchell

Charlotte Mitchell

Legislative Assistant

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Key Takeaways

On March 29, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced $2.4 billion in funding for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program. This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) combines funding from fiscal years 2023 and 2024 appropriations and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)

CRISI grants are a valuable resource for counties as rail safety remains a critical issue, especially at dangerous at-grade crossings – nearly all of which are located within county boundaries. NACo will continue to advocate for full funding of CRISI and other discretionary grant programs authorized in the BIL in future surface transportation legislation. Learn more about the CRISI program here. 

What sort of projects are eligible under the CRISI program?

The CRISI program supports a wide range of projects that improve rail safety, efficiency, and reliability. The USDOT Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) evaluates CRISI applications based on stages of a capital project and expects that applications identify only one of the following tracks for an eligible project:

  • Track 1 – Systems planning and project planning
  • Track 2 – Project development
  • Track 3 – Construction
  • Track 4 - Research, workforce development and safety programs
  • Track 5 – Deployment of magnetic levitation transportation projects

What is the federal cost share under the CRISI program? 

The federal cost share is 80 percent of total project costs with awardees responsible for the remaining 20 percent. At least 25 percent of funds will be made available for projects located entirely or mostly in rural areas, defined in the NOFO as outside an urban area with a population of at least 50,000 according to the 2020 Census. 

When is the application due?

Counties can apply directly to USDOT for CRISI funding by May 28, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. 

Upcoming webinar

The FRA will host a webinar on April 9, 2024, from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. EDT to discuss best practices for constructing the project narrative, statement of work, and benefit-cost analysis, and for complying with environmental requirements. FRA will also share additional information about the application evaluation process and grant lifecycle timeframes. Register here.

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