The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has allocated funding of more than $1.4bn to upgrade the freight and passenger rail network, as well as strengthen supply chains in the country.

A Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) has been issued to access this amount under Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) Grant funding.

Administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the CRISI programme helps accelerate projects that modernise freight and passenger rail infrastructure.

The programme facilitates allocation of at least 25% of overall capital for projects in the country’s rural sites.

CRISI grants will serve as a source of funding for short-line railroads besides advancing the department’s major goals of infrastructure safety, efficiency, economic vitality, equity, and resiliency. 

Furthermore, these grants will be used for safety projects such as grade crossing enhancements and rail line relocations and enhancements.

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They can also be used for workforce development and training, regional rail and corridor planning, environmental analyses, and research and deployment of railroad safety technology.

US DOT transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg said: “Freight rail is a critical part of our supply chains, and when shipping costs come down, families pay less for goods.

“Today, because of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re thrilled to announce the biggest-round of funding ever to make both passenger and freight trains across America safer, faster, and more reliable.”

Last month, the US DOT earmarked over $233m to 11 projects through the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Programme to modernise intercity passenger rail service in eight states.