Washington, D.C. — More than 400 at-grade crossings across 32 states will be addressed in the inaugural funding round of the Railroad Crossing Elimination (RCE) Grant Program, the Federal Railroad Administration announced on June 5. The program, created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will award $570 million to 63 different projects to close, separate, or improve rail crossings.

“With these project selections and the many more that are to come, we will save lives and reshape infrastructure in ways that allow individuals to move through their neighborhoods seamlessly and safely,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose.

The projects range in scope and cost. A $60,000 planning grant to Florence, South Carolina will help the city study 33 crossings. At the top end, a nearly $42 million construction grant in Alabama will construct a bridge to close two at-grade crossings on Shelby County Road just outside of Birmingham. One project at the New York State Fairgrounds will improve pedestrian safety for the 200 events held there annually.

Over 91% of the grant awards support physical infrastructure projects, like bridges and underpasses, or new gates and other equipment enhancements. Planning, development and design activities received the remaining $50 million—an amount that exceeds the 3% program requirement for such grants. These planning grants “will build a pipeline of projects for future funding,” according to the FRA. Another program set-aside, rural areas or Tribal lands received 22% of all funding.

The RCE will deliver $5.5 billion in total funding over five years to improve the safety and mobility of people and goods. Ninety-five percent of rail-related deaths involve a person or vehicle on the tracks—a sobering statistic that railroads and public sector partners are working to address through both public education and action.

The total number of at-grade crossings in the U.S. has declined 10% since 2005, with railroads working in step with the USDOT and local authorities to identify crossings that can be consolidated, enhanced, or eliminated.

“The safest, best crossing is no crossing at all,” said AAR President and CEO Ian Jefferies. “The projects selected for this initial round of investment will advance safety and reduce traffic delays, while also keeping goods moving across the nation. Everyone wins through this type of smart infrastructure investment, and railroads are proud to support this transformational program.”

The application period announcement for the next round of funding is expected this summer, as early as the end of June. More information on the RCE grant and addition funding for rail projects can be found on GoRail’s Rail Grant Hub.