Affectionately known as CRISI, the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement Grants Program was created by the FAST Act. CRISI grants are designed to assist financing the cost of improving passenger and freight rail systems in order to achieve safety, efficiency, and reliability benefits. This program has received a total of $568 million in funding between 2017 and 2018 appropriations.
Applications for the next round of $318 million in funds are due September 17, 2018. Eligible projects include:
- Projects that deploy non-positive train control (PTC) railroad safety technology and rail integrity inspection systems.
- Intercity passenger rail capital projects, including those that reduce congestion and encourage ridership growth on heavily traveled corridors.
- Capital projects that address rail congestion.
- Highway-rail grade crossing improvement projects, including grade separations.
- Rail line relocation and improvement projects.
- Capital projects for short-line or regional railroad infrastructure.
- Regional rail and corridor service development planning.
- Projects that enhance multi-modal connections or service integration.
- Certain types of safety programs, research and workforce development are eligible purposes.
Funding proposals may be for multiple tracks in a funding proposal for a single project: 1) planning, 2) preliminary engineering/environmental, 3) final design/construction. Eligibility is quite broad, including public entities, but also Class II and III railroads, Amtrak and other intercity passenger providers. Class I railroads and suppliers can partner with eligible entities to submit applications.
The minimum non-federal funding match is 20% but preference will be given to projects offering at least 50%. Construction projects should demonstrate a net positive cost-benefit analysis. Twenty-five percent of funds must be set-aside for projects in rural areas.