Rail Safety Grants Available

Railroads, suppliers, and state and local governments have until July 1 to apply for the grants to deploy interoperable positive train control systems.

The Federal Railroad Administration has begun accepting applications for grants that railroads can use to deploy positive train control collision avoidance systems under a new $50 million Rail Safety Technology Program, FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo announced. The agency began accepting them April 9 from passenger and freight rail carriers, railroad suppliers, and state and local governments. "Safety is our highest priority," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "These grants will help us get the right kinds of technologies out there to prevent train collisions and other accidents."

The funded projects and systems must be ready for deployment within 24 months of the grant award. "This grant program will accelerate the installation of PTC on key portions of the nation's rail system," Szabo said. “We are glad that we can help railroads meet the statutory deadline of 2015 for PTC implementation and look forward to working with them to achieve that goal." FRA said it will give preference to collaborative projects sponsored by multiple railroads and public authorities that satisfy one or more specific objectives, particularly interoperability.

The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires that interoperable PTC systems be deployed by Dec. 31, 2015 on mainline tracks that carry passenger trains or Poison Inhalation Hazard /Toxic Inhalation Hazard materials. There is an 80/20 cost-sharing requirement for the grant; applications will be reviewed immediately after the July 1, 2010, filing deadline, and winners will be announced around Sept. 3, 2010. For more information and grant application instructions, visit http://grants.gov and look for funding opportunity number RS-TEC-10-001.

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