The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has proposed a list of 10 infrastructure projects to receive a combined $78.88 million in fiscal year 2017 Fostering Advancement in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) Small Project grants.
“Transportation is a key to accessing opportunity and improving our quality of life,” says Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “These targeted investments will assist communities in building infrastructure systems that will improve safety for the traveling public and provide increased access to greater long-term economic opportunity.”
The majority of the proposed grants would “increase freight mobility and produce greater economic opportunities” in rural areas. USDOT reports the projects would improve safety at more than 100 rail crossings, repair about 250 miles of track and update more than 70 rail bridges and allow communities in Maine, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, and Texas access to the national freight rail network. In total, the $78.88 million in proposed FASTLANE awards will lead to approximately $217 million in total investment in infrastructure, the department says.
The FASTLANE program was made possible by a provision in the FAST Act called the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program. This is designed to fund both small and large projects based on size and meeting certain requirements, and is authorized for $4.5 billion through 2020. Ten percent of the yearly grants are held for small projects that are estimated at less than the minimum project threshold of $100 million.
USDOT says it will begin “obligation and commitment of funds” for the proposed grants after the 60-day Congressional review period if there aren’t any resolutions disapproving the funding for any of the projects.
In July the department created a new transportation project grant program that replaces the FASTLANE program that would make $1.5 billion available and aims to use investment from private industry.
The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America(INFRA) discretionary grant program, USDOT reports, aims to advance the FASTLANE program by using “updated criteria to evaluate projects to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals and to leverage additional non-federal funding.”
The list of projects proposed for the grants include:
- US 550 South Connection to US 160, La Plata County, Colorado, $12,312,886.50 – to construct a new 1.7-mile alignment of US 550, connecting with US 160 at the Grandview Interchange.
- Taylor County Florida Competitiveness & Employment by Rail (CEBYR) Project, Taylor County, Florida, $8,671,513.50 – to rehabilitate the Georgia & Florida Railway (GFRR) including upgrades to 19 active warning public grade crossing devices, rebuilding 90 public and private grade crossing surfaces, hardening 16 bridges to support increased traffic, installing approximately 70,000 crossties, and resurfacing approximately 80 miles of railway between Foley, Florida and Adel, Georgia.
- Burns Harbor: Enhanced Intermodal Facilities with Rail & Truck Marshalling Yards, Ports of Indiana, Indiana, $9,850,000 – to construct a series of efficiency-enhancing improvements that will also allow the port to increase their cargo handling capacity.
- Maine Railroad Bridge Capacity Project, Maine Department of Transportation, Maine $7,890,000 – to repair and upgrade 22 rail bridges on the Madawaska Subdivision of the state-owned railway in northeastern Maine.
- U.S. Highway 10 Lake Michigan Crossing Dock Facility Improvements, City of Ludington/City of Manitowoc, Mason County, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, $5,000,000 – to replace and update the 70-year-old ferry docking and berthing facilities in Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
- North Central Mississippi Railway Project, North Central Mississippi Regional Railroad Authority, Mississippi, $7,540,000 – to rehabilitate an approximately 90-mile stretch of track of the Grenada Railroad between Grenada and Canton, MS, as well as repair the Coldwater River bridge near Coldwater, Mississippi.
- Rogers’ Rangers Bridge, State of New Hampshire, Coos County, New Hampshire and Essex County, Vermont, $5,000,000 – to replace the Rogers’ Rangers Bridge that carries U.S. Route 2 over the Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont.
- Evans Avenue Railroad Grade Separation Improvements, City of Akron, Ohio, $5,715,600 – to conduct improvements to Evans Avenue. Evans Avenue currently carries approximately 4,000 vehicles per day and has two at-grade crossings with CSXT Railroad and the Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority (RTA).
- Northern Columbia Basin Rail Road Project, Port of Moses Lake, Grant County, Washington, $9,900,000 – to complete construction of the Northern Columbia Basin Rail Project. The Port of Moses Lake includes a port facility as well as the Grant County International Airport and over 4,500 acres of industrial areas; however, it currently has no rail access.
- SORR Rehabilitation and Presidio International Rail Bridge Reconstruction, Texas Department of Transportation, West Texas, $7,000,000 – to repair the Presidio-Ojinaga International Rail Bridge, and rehabilitate approximately 72 miles of the state-owned South Orient Railroad, from the U.S./Mexico border to the Paisano Junction, near Alpine, Texas.