United States Department of Transportation (US DoT) agency Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has awarded $56m in grant funding to 18 projects in 16 states.

Allocated under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) programme, the funding will be used to increase rail safety and improve the efficiency of intercity passenger and freight rail systems.

US Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao said: “These funds will help repair and upgrade rail infrastructure that will increase safety and service.”

The latest funding has allocated up to $10m for the Millbrook Road Grade Separation Sealed Corridor Project in the state of North Carolina.

“These funds will help repair and upgrade rail infrastructure that will increase safety and service.”

The proposed project involves the combination of three grade separations on the CSX S line north of Raleigh. Two of these grade separation works are funded by the state, while the third will be advanced with the CRISI grant.

The proposed MacArthur Bridge replacement works in the state of Missouri will receive a grant of more than $7m, while the Hudson Line Bridge Decks replacement work project in New York will receive up to $6.36m.

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Additionally, rail projects in Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Vermont, Florida and Illinois will receive government grants.

According to the US DoT’s Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), at least 25% of the grants should be reserved to fund rural rail projects.

In November, FRA issued a NOFO for $272m to overhaul publicly-owned railroad assets.

FRA selects eligible rail projects for NOFO based on multiple criteria including economic vitality, measurable outcomes and the utilisation of new approaches to improve safety and facilitate project delivery.