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FRA Announces $1.4 Billion in CRISI Grants

September 27, 2023

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced this week that it will advance more than $1.4 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for 70 rail improvement projects in 35 states and Washington, D.C. The funding, part of the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program, will benefit a combination of freight and passenger rail projects.

While 74% of the awards went to freight railroads, the average grant award came in at just over $12.7 million. More than half of the funding went to passenger rail or hybrid passenger/freight projects, with the average passenger rail grant award coming in at just under $60 million.

The big winners in the passenger rail sector were the California High-Speed Rail Authority, Amtrak, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority:

  • The California High-Speed Rail Authority will receive up to $202 million for final design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction activities for improvements to six grade crossings and track-related improvements in Kern County.
  • Amtrak will receive up to $178 million for final design and construction activities to restore the Gulf Coast service between New Orleans, LA and Mobile, AL. You can read more about the project in this Rail Passengers press release from last week.
  • Massachusetts Department of Transportation will receive up to $108 million to improve connections within Massachusetts between Boston, Worcester, and Springfield and to communities beyond the Commonwealth in Connecticut and New York City.
  • The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority will receive up to $100 million to design and build the Franconia-Springfield Bypass, a critical bridge that will alleviate congestion on one of busiest railways in Virginia.

The Southern region pulled in the lion's share of the Fiscal Year 2022 CRISI grants, receiving 42 percent of the overall funding. While this was based largely on the strength of the awards to Virginia and the Gulf Coast, southern short line freight railroads also fared well in the competetive grant process -- largely through the active advocacy of southern Members of Congress. Of the remainder of the total funding, the Southwest received 21 percent, the Mid-Atlantic received 11 percent, the Northeast nine percent, the Midwest seven percent, and the West seven percent. The Central region came in last with under six percent -- disapointing, given all the exciting projects that could move forward in Texas and Oklahoma! However, the clear takeaway is that the states that have put in the work on developing a passenger rail program (i.e. California, Virginia, the Gulf Coast states, Washington State) are reaping the rewards from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

If you want to see the full list of projects, Rail Passengers has provided the full listing of FY2022 CRISI grants.