Federal Railroad Administrator Announces $1 Million Grant to Operation Lifesaver
Monday, May 03, 2004 (Washington, DC) Federal Railroad Administrator Allan Rutter today announced a $1 million grant to Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI), the nation's premier railroad safety public education and awareness organization.
The grant will be used by OLI to conduct targeted public education and awareness programs about highway-rail grade crossing safety and the dangers inherent in railroad trespassing.
"Operation Lifesaver helped achieve dramatic improvements in highway-rail grade crossing safety and trespass prevention. This investment of taxpayer dollars leverages countless hours of volunteer effort in communities across the country to keep families safe. This action is consistent with President Bush's philosophy of community-based, volunteer-led programs to make a difference in people's lives," Rutter said in announcing the grant.
"We are very proud of the contributions OLI's volunteer presenters have made in raising awareness of grade crossing safety and railroad trespassing. This annual grant allows us to continue and expand those efforts to reach more of the American public than ever," OLI President Gerri Hall said.
Presently, train-vehicle collisions and railroad trespassing account for approximately 96 percent of rail-related fatalities in the United States. Since its inception over 30 years ago, Alexandria, VA-based OLI has forged numerous partnerships among railroad industry stakeholders and diverse public health and safety constituencies. The non-profit organization conducts diverse and far-reaching public outreach initiatives to combat such casualties.
The Federal Railroad Administration is the primary sponsor of OLI. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration also provide financial assistance to OLI for operations and programs.
Through the application of a 25 percent matching fund requirement, the grant leverages additional resources from non-federal sources. Operation Lifesaver was created in 1972 when the number of train-vehicle collisions exceeded 12,000 annually. During 2003, the last full year for which data is available, that number had declined to 2,919.