The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has an allocation of more than $1bn in President Biden’s FY 2024 Budget for rail safety improvements.
This funding will help expand DOT Federal Railroad Administration’s core safety efforts and improve crucial rail infrastructure.
The budget allocation includes $273.5m for the agency’s railroad safety personnel and extending critical inspection and audit capabilities.
This funding also seeks to improve data analysis to detect root causes of railroad safety incidents, in addition to increasing stakeholder outreach and partnerships to avoid threats to public safety.
The allocation also includes $760m for both the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) programme and the Railroad Crossing Elimination programme.
It will help offer additional capital to enhance almost all facets of railroad safety, comprising upgrading track, rolling stock, and signal system.
The funds will also be used for railroad employee safety training programmes, as well as preventing railroad trespassing and highway-rail grade crossing collisions.
Furthermore, $59m has been earmarked for a cross-cutting research and development programme to implement new technologies and practices for railroad safety improvement.
Meanwhile, the Federal Railroad Administration started carrying out a supplemental safety assessment of Norfolk Southern Railway after several safety incidents.
The safety assessment will help ‘exceed the scope of existing FRA audits and take an expansive look at Norfolk Southern’s overall safety culture and operations’.
Following various Norfolk Southern incidents, the DOT has also urged Norfolk Southern to involve its employees and management in safety programmes to protect workers and communities.