Over the past two years, California has received $27.3 million in grants from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to install infrastructure to make safety and efficiency improvements at highway-railroad crossings.
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2020, appropriated $50 million in Commuter Authority Rail Safety Improvement (CARSI) Grants Program funding to be awarded by FHWA for highway-railway crossing-related projects, including those that separate or protect grades at crossings.
The CARSI competitive grant allocations consisted of two rounds. In January 2021, USDOT awarded five grants totaling $40.2 million for the first round of projects. The second round of awards were announced in September and included $59 million in grants for projects in California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.
In both rounds, the funds designated for California were awarded to Metrolink operator Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA).
In the first round, SCRRA received $14.8 million in funds to improve safety at Tyler Avenue and at Cogswell Road in the city of El Monte in Los Angeles County. The intersection is on Metrolink's San Bernardino line.
In round two, SCRRA received a $12.5 million grant for upgrades to three high-volume, at-grade, highway-railway crossings in Ventura County. All three are located either adjacent to or within areas of persistent poverty and/or historically disadvantaged communities.
According to FWHA, the funds will be used to bring the crossing up to current SCRAA Grade Crossing Safety Standards that will improve safety for drivers by adding protective devices, wider medians and modified crossing warning systems, and also improve safety for pedestrians by adding emergency swing gates and right-of-way fencing.
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