Biden-Harris Administration announces more than $3.2 million in funding to help reduce train-vehicle collisions and blocked crossings in the state of Utah
Salt Lake City—The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced it has awarded more than $3.2 million to the state of Utah in Railroad Crossing Elimination (RCE) Grant Program funding. Nationally, the RCE Program will provide over $570 million in funding for 63 projects in 32 states. This inaugural round of funding will address more than 400 at-grade crossings nationwide, improve safety, and make it easier to get around railroad tracks by adding grade separations, closing at-grade crossings, and improving existing at-grade crossings where train tracks and roads intersect.
Preventing blocked crossings and collisions is one of many ways President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will make a difference in people’s everyday lives by improving safety and convenience and creating good-paying jobs to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure. Last year, there were more than 2,000 highway-rail crossing collisions in the U.S. and more than 30,000 reports of blocked crossings submitted to FRA’s public complaint portal.
“Every year, commuters, residents, and first responders lose valuable time waiting at blocked railroad crossings – and worse, those crossings are too often the site of collisions that could be prevented,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re improving rail crossings in communities across the country to save lives, time, and resources for American families.”
For years, FRA has received complaints from citizens, states, and localities regarding the delays and disruptions caused by frequently blocked crossings that force residents to wait hours at intersections or take detours. These delays and disruptions can also prevent first responders from getting to emergencies quickly. Further, over 2,000 collisions occur every year at highway-rail grade crossings. The projects selected for funding in the first year of this program will greatly improve the quality of life in communities big and small, creating safer rail crossings and allowing people to get to and from their homes, schools, businesses, hospitals, fire stations, and workplaces without being stranded and delayed by a standing train.
“The Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program is another critical tool that FRA is using to make a lasting impact on the safety and transportation needs of communities nationwide,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “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.”
Along with projects that build or upgrade physical infrastructure at railroad crossings, FRA awarded $15.7 million for planning activities and $33.1 million for project development and design activities that will build a pipeline of projects for future funding. Twenty-two percent of all funding, $127.5 million, was awarded to projects in rural areas or on Tribal lands.
Projects supported by RCE Program funding in Utah include:
- Bluffdale Pedestrian Overpass Project ($3,232,000)
City of Bluffdale
The project will close a private at-grade crossing and build a non-motorized, ADA-compliant overpass over Union Pacific’s rail line, which hosts freight trains and Front Runner commuter rail service. The project will improve pedestrian foot traffic, eliminating the need for residents to use a 2.5-mile detour to access schools and neighborhoods. The City of Bluffdale will contribute 20 percent non-Federal match.
There are more than 130,000 miles of railroad track in the U.S. and improving safety in the communities where they run is a priority for the Department.
Over each of the next four years, additional RCE Program funding will be made available annually. Project selections for other grant programs that will improve freight rail safety and efficiency, strengthen supply chains, and expand the passenger rail network – representing billions of dollars in infrastructure law investments – will be announced in the coming months.