Over $24.3 million planned to help reduce train-vehicle collisions in Michigan

Over 2,000 highway-rail crossings collisions occurred nationally last year

Train tracks. (Pixabay)

Michigan – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced on Monday it rewarded over $24.3 million to Michigan in Railroad Crossing Elimination (RCE).

Funding includes $23,964,400 for a west-side-grade-separation project in the city of Monroe, and $424,000 for a track relocation study in Manistee County to abandon a northern perimeter track around Lake Manistee for a new southern segment.

The Monroe project will eliminate an existing grade crossing and build a new grade separation in an effort to improve traffic flow on Monroe’s west side, and improve response time for emergency vehicles.

The Manistee County project will eliminate four at-grade crossings, three marine bridges, and a rail-car staging area on CSX right of way. Both Monroe and Manistee County will provide funds totaling a 20% non-federal match.

“Every year, commuters, residents, and first responders lose valuable time waiting at blocked railroad crossings -- and worse, those crossings are too often the site of collisions that could be prevented,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re improving rail crossings in communities across the country to save lives, time, and resources for American families.”

Michigan is one of 32 states to receive funding to address over 400 at-grade crossings nationwide. There were over 2,000 highway-rail crossings collisions in the U.S. and over 30,000 reports of blocked crossings submitted to the FRA’s public complaint portal.

RCE funding will be made available annually around the U.S. over the next four years, and investments for other grant programs to improve freight rail safety and efficiency, and expand the passenger rail network, will be announced in the coming months.