Last week the Federal Highway Administration, a division of the US Department of Transportation, announced the allocation of $59 billion in grant funding to improve infrastructure at railway crossings in four states: California, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. According to a FHWA press release, the funding is intended “to help save lives with safer crossings.”
In New York, the funding will be used to improve accessibility and upgrade warningsystems at crossings in Dutchess, Nassau, Putnam, and Suffolk Counties. In Pennsylvania, it will be used to install gates and upgrade pavement markings in the Philadelphia area. In California, it will be used to add signal features warning drivers to steer clear of railroad tracks in Ventura County. In Florida, it will be used to modernize commuter rail crossings in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, adding lighting and other safety measures.
New York will receive $4.4 million in funding for the Metro North Railroad and $14.9 million in funding for the Long Island Railroad, according to the press release. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority will receive $12.5 million, the Southern Florida Regional Transportation Authority will receive $12.9 million, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will receive $15 million.
In a statement about the grant awards, US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said: “Safety is the number one priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation, especially as our country faces a crisis of fatalities on our roadways. “Today’s grants, along with additional funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will improve safety at highway-rail crossings for travelers, whether they’re riding, driving, biking, or walking.”
Acting FHWA Administrator Stephanie Pollack, meanwhile, said in her own statement: “These grants show how multi-modal coordination and investment will improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians traveling where roads and railways intersect. By making these resources available, we can help commuter rail operators mitigate the risks.”