The US Government has agreed to invest $320.6m for rail infrastructure and safety improvement works in the country.

The funding will be allocated to 50 projects, selected by the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

The projects involve a variety of works that seek to improve the safety and reliability of freight and intercity passenger services on the lines.

Nine projects involve works to prevent illegal trespassing at highway-rail grade crossings, while other projects encompass rehabilitation and upgrade of rail infrastructure to streamline operations.

US Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao said: “This $320.6m federal investment will upgrade US rail infrastructure and enhance rail safety in communities across America.”

FRA administrator Ronald L Batory said: “We remain committed to helping address pressing transportation capital needs, particularly in rural areas.

“I am pleased that so many high-quality applications were submitted for worthwhile investments by the FRA.”

The funding will be provided under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program.

Authorised by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the CRISI Program funds projects that will improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail systems.

Since 2017, the US Government has allocated more than $1.2bn through the CRISI program.

Last month, FRA approved a regulation that will enable the railroad companies to use new ultrasonic technology for track inspections.

The new technology is capable of conducting continuous rail testing and identifying potential flaws before further deterioration.