DOT Digest: FRA Grants for Portland & Western RR, Sumpter Valley RR, Rail-Related Suicide Research, and High Speed Rail Grade Crossing Upgrades
Friday, August 24, 2007 (Washington, DC) DOT Announces $3.1 Million for New Transportation Research. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration announced the award of a total of $3.1 million for seven U.S. universities to work with the Department to solve national and regional transportation challenges through research, education and technology transfer. Universities receiving $550,000 from the Department are the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and a combined program run by the University of Denver with Mississippi State University. Universities receiving $408,300 from DOT are Cleveland State University, the University of Detroit Mercy, Michigan Technological University, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and North Carolina State University. Contact: Roger Lotz: (202) 366-2246.
17 States Receive Grant Funding to Improve Grade Crossings in High Speed Rail Corridors. Federally designated high-speed rail corridors in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin will share a total of $9.2 million in grants for highway-rail grade crossing safety improvements. The grants are jointly coordinated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and support the installation of warning lights, crossing gates and other engineering solutions, such as separating the tracks from the roadway to help prevent motor vehicle-train collisions along rail corridors where high-speed trains may one day operate. Visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pressroom/hazelimtab.htm for detailed information about each grant by state, or contact: Doug Hecox, FHWA, (202) 366-0660 or Steve Kulm, FRA, (202) 493-6024.
Maritime Administration Cuts Red Tape, Clears Obstacles for Seaport Expansion The Maritime Administration team managing the Port of Anchorage development project succeeded in gaining approval in record time for the multi-million dollar port expansion of 135 acres on the Cook Inlet waterfront. The Army Corps of Engineers project permitting process often takes 7 to 10 years, but MARAD specialists accomplished the regulatory task in just 4 years. The Port of Anchorage Intermodal Expansion Project is scheduled for completion in 2013. Contact: Shannon Russell at 202-366-5807.
FRA Research Project Focuses on Reducing Rail-related Suicides Reducing the number and frequency of suicides on railroad rights of way is the goal of $250,000 research project being sponsored by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The grant is being provided to the Railroad Research Foundation, an arm of the Association of American Railroads, to support ongoing efforts to quantify the number of rail-related suicides and identify underlying causes. Suicides, as determined by local medical examiners, are not presently required to be reported by railroads to the FRA. The research findings will help develop prevention and mitigation strategies to impede and discourage rail-related suicidal behavior. Contact: Warren Flatau 202-493-6024.
Sumpter Valley Railroad Receives FRA Grant to Upgrade Track and Equipment The Sumpter Valley Railroad is receiving a $420,527 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to improve its equipment and infrastructure to support its tourist train operations near Sumpter, Oregon. The grant funding will be used to rebuild several locomotives and track machinery, upgrade mechanical shop facilities, and redesign a wye track to allow trains to easily turnaround. In addition, the railroad will purchase a narrow gauge vintage diesel locomotive and purchase and refurbish a vintage business car. Contact: Warren Flatau 202-493-6024.
Portland & Western Railroad Receives FRA Grants for Track and Bridge Upgrades The Portland & Western Railroad, located in northwestern Oregon, is receiving two grants from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). A $369,386 grant will be used to strengthen bridges, replace crossties and track turnouts, add new ballast and resurface track between Willamina and Whiteson. The railroad is providing $92,347 in matching funds for this project.
In addition, the Portland & Western railroad is receiving an FRA grant for $3,957,710 to be used toward the replacement of a one-half mile wooden bridge approach to an existing steel bridge over the Willamette River near Albany. The new bridge approach will allow for increased safety and train speeds benefiting 135 industrial shippers in the Willamette Valley between Newburg and Monroe. The railroad is providing $989,428 in matching funds for this project. Contact: Warren Flatau 202-493-6024.