AASHTO Journal

Indiana to Target ‘At Least’ $125M to New Local-Area Rail Safety Grants

The Indiana Department of Transportation said it will make available at least $125 million for high-priority railroad safety projects on local roads through its new "Local Trax" matching grant program.

The Indiana General Assembly authorized funding for the program last year when it passed a long-term road funding plan, the announcement noted.

INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness said that "Indiana is able to invest in infrastructure, both highways and local roads, at levels not seen before in our state's history. Local Trax will direct needed funds to high-priority local rail projects, enhancing mobility and livability in our communities."

indot-trax.jpgThe agency said a goal of the new program is to "encourage partnership between the state, local governments, private businesses and railroads to increase safety, improve mobility, and enhance the quality of life for Hoosiers."

INDOT said it will begin accepting project proposals from local agencies in May, keep the application window open through Aug. 31 and award funds soon after.

Local Trax, it said, "requires local governments to provide only 20 percent of funding for land acquisition and construction with the state providing the other 80 percent." Projects it will cover include high-priority railroad grade separations, crossing closures and other safety enhancements at track intersections with local roads, the department said.

"Local Trax is an innovative approach to infrastructure funding that creates a partnership between the state and communities willing to put skin in the game toward improving their local roads," Gov. Eric Holcomb said. "Eliminating at-grade rail crossings on local roads makes our transportation network safer, reduces congestion and better connects our communities."

In a comment included with the INDOT press release, Kristin Bevil, president of the Indiana Railway Coalition, said: "The railroad industry is pleased to collaborate with state and local governments on this very important issue. This unique program furthers efforts to improve safety at railroad crossings, a matter the railroads take very seriously."

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

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