FRA awards $203 million in grants for positive train control systems

August 24, 2018  - By

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) awarded $203,698,298 in grant funding for 28 projects in 15 states to assist with the deployment of positive train control (PTC) systems.

The $203 million in grants is part of the total $250 million specifically appropriated under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 for the implementation of PTC systems, via the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.

“These $200 million in grants will help the railroads continue to implement positive train control, a technology that could help reduce accidents and save lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

The awards fund many aspects of PTC system implementation for intercity passenger or commuter rail and freight rail transportation, including back office PTC systems; wayside, communications, and onboard PTC system equipment; personnel training; PTC system testing; and interoperability.

Second-quarter PTC data

In addition, FRA released its second-quarter update on railroads’ self-reported progress toward implementing PCT systems. As of June 30, 15 railroads have installed 100 percent of the PCT system hardware that must be installed for implementation, based on a review of the railroads’ PTC Implementation Plans and quarterly progress reports for the second quarter of 2018. Twelve other ailroads have installed between 95 and 99 percent of the PTC system hardware identified in their PTC Implementation Plans.

According to FRA, this marks improvement from December 2016, where freight railroads had PTC active on just 16 percent of required tracks, while passenger railroads were at 24 percent.

In addition, second quarter data shows a 25 percent drop in the number of “at risk” railroads from 12 to nine. FRA considers any railroad that installed less than 90 percent of its PTC system hardware as of June 30 to be at risk.

“The railroads have achieved some significant improvements over the past year implementing this safety technology,” said FRA Administrator Ronald Batory. “While we are seeing progress among a majority of railroads, we want to see everyone meet their requirements.”

Awards Granted

When choosing the recipients of the grants, the FRA considered a number of factors, including supporting economic vitality; leveraging federal funding; using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; and holding grant recipients accountable for achieving specific, measurable outcomes.

Under the CRISI Program, at least 25 percent of funds are available for rural projects, the FRA said. In addition, federal funds awarded for CRISI grants must not exceed 80 percent of the total cost of a project, and the required 20 percent non-federal share may be composed of public sector (state or local) or private-sector funding, or both.

Agencies that received grants are:

  • Alaska Railroad Corporation
  • California Department of Transportation
  • Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board
  • Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit
  • Southern California Regional Rail Authority
  • Florida Department of Transportation
  • Iowa Interstate Railroad
  • Iowa Northern Railway Company
  • Belt Railway Company of Chicago
  • Chicago Rail Link
  • Commuter Rail Division of the Regional Transportation Authority
  • Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad
  • Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District
  • Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
  • Springfield Terminal Railway Company (ST)/Pan Am Railways
  • Maryland Transit Administration
  • Nebraska Central Railroad Company
  • Rio Metro Regional Transit District
  • Middletown and New Jersey Railroad
  • New York & Atlantic Railway Company
  • Allegheny Valley Railroad Company
  • North Shore Railroad Company
  • Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Dallas Area Rapid Transit
  • Denton County Transportation Authority
  • Utah Transit Authority
  • Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad

About the Author: Allison Kral

Allison Kral is the former digital media manager for North Coast Media (NCM). She completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio University where she received a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She works across a number of digital platforms, which include creating e-newsletters, writing articles and posting across social media sites. She also creates content for NCM's Pit & Quarry magazine, Portable Plants magazine and Geospatial Solutions. Her understanding of the ever-changing digital media world allows her to quickly grasp what a target audience desires and create content that is appealing and relevant for any client across any platform.