WI Receives $125,000 In Rail Infrastructure Funding

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced Wednesday (6/1/2022) $125,000 in rail infrastructure funding for Wisconsin.

A press release issued Wednesday said:

“This funding is part of the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant program. Nationally, the CRISI program awarded 46 projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia more than $368 million.

“These investments will play a crucial role in modernizing rail infrastructure and strengthening supply chains to reduce congestion and get people and goods where they need to go faster and cheaper. The program is expected to create good-paying jobs and benefit urban and rural communities across the country.

“The selected projects announced Wednesday will not only improve and expand passenger rail and fund conventional and high-speed rail, but they will also increase supply chain resilience and fluidity, support short line railroads, invest in in new technology and safety advancements, and benefit rail industry workforce development and training activities – helping to create jobs and increase economic growth. 

“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has nearly tripled funding for this critical rail infrastructure program – to $1 billion a year for the next five years. Strengthening supply chains and increasing the productive capacity of the economy are key tenets of President Biden’s plans to get goods from ships to shelves more quickly and lower costs for American families.   

“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 underpins our supply chains and makes our economy work.” 

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) received up to $125,000 for a trespassing safety study that will develop safety solutions for trespassing and grade crossing incidents in two rail corridors in Southeastern Wisconsin. The purpose of the study is to identify potential infrastructure improvements and/or strategies to effectively reduce the risk of trespassing and casualties throughout the study corridors. The identified study areas, Wauwatosa and Waukesha, have a history of incidents over the past 20 years. The project qualifies for the statutorily required set-aside for capital projects and engineering solutions targeting trespassing. Wisconsin DOT will provide a 50 percent match.

“This round of CRISI grants – one of the largest ever – is a major step forward for FRA and the Biden 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 have a direct impact on numerous communities nationwide while laying the groundwork for future growth.”

CRISI 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. As the nation continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, these upgrades and expansions will help state and local governments and rail carriers meet renewed travel demand and strengthen supply chains.

By statute, a minimum of 25 percent of this funding must be awarded to rural projects, and this announcement includes nearly double the required investment in rural communities, which underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to addressing the needs of rural communities. In addition, $87.6 million is for projects that support the development of new intercity passenger rail service, and $25.7 million is for capital projects or engineering solutions targeting trespassing, exceeding the required statutory minimums. Historically, CRISI has funded projects that improve safety and railroad infrastructure, reduce congestion, relocate rail lines, conduct rail-related research, and enhance multi-modal connections between rail and other modes such as ports or intermodal facilities.

A full list of the FY 2021 CRISI grant awards can be found here.