The US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has granted nearly $10m in funding for nine upgrade projects in eight states to increase the safety of railroad crossings along energy routes.
According to FRA, it received 34 eligible applications requesting $50.8m in funding, which is five times the $10m available under the Railroad Safety Grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products (STEP) by Rail Programme.
States that have received the grants include Washington, California, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Arkansas and Louisiana.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: "These grants will reduce accidents and fatalities at railroad crossings and help modernise our nation’s rail system."
Wisconsin, Louisiana and North Dakota will benefit from more than $5m in funds as part of the programme.
Receiving $3m in funding, Wisconsin will use the funds to improve safety and security for Waukesha County communities along rail lines carrying crude oil.
The state of Louisiana will use its $1.1m to increase safety at railroad crossings along six miles of Kansas City Southern tracks from North Street to Louise Street in Baton Rouge.
Six of the 15 crossings along the route, and nine will be upgraded with new lights, gates and other road improvements.
It is reported that since 2000, there have been 11 accidents that have resulted in four injuries along this corridor in Baton Rouge.
FRA administrator Sarah Feinberg said: "One of FRA’s top priorities during the last year has been to reverse the uptick in fatalities at railroad crossings because most of these collisions and deaths are preventable.
"Today’s grants will upgrade the warning systems at critical crossings and close others where crude oil and other energy products are transported."
The $1.03m allocated to North Dakota will be used to improve grade crossings on the energy corridor with active warning signals at five locations, namely 126th Ave NW of Epping; 86th Ave NW east of Ross, Grand Forks Cr16 Niagara, Grand Forks CR20 West of Larimore and 79th Ave NE Ramsey County CMC 3638 NW of Devils Lake.