June 2, 2022 - TRA Newswire-

In another weak showing, Texas will only get 0.02% of over $368 million that the Federal Railroad Administration has announced in railroad grants under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program this week. 46 projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia were awarded individual grants up to $25 million that are designed to improve and expand passenger-rail service and fund conventional high-speed rail lines. CRISI funds are also awarded to increase supply-chain resilience and fluidity, support short lines, invest in new technology and safety advancements and benefit rail industry workforce development and training activities, according to the FRA.

Residents of Harlingen, in the Rio Grande Valley, will get some relief from blocked rail crossings with an approved project that was sponsored by the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority. The Harlingen Rail Improvements Project, valued at up to $5,570,556 will eliminate seven at-grade crossings and construct one new crossing, relocating and realigning almost two miles of track.

“This round of CRISI grants – one of the largest ever – is a major step forward for FRA and the Biden Administration’s efforts to revitalize and rebuild the country’s infrastructure,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “These awards will allow FRA to support rail projects that have a direct impact on numerous communities nationwide, while also laying the groundwork for future growth.”

The new track connection will enable the Union Pacific Harlingen Subdivision track to connect to the company's Brownsville Subdivision as well as straighten out two curves. The extension of the track between Jefferson Avenue and Adams Avenue will allow for the closure of the old Southern Pacific switchyard east of Commerce Street between Ona Street north to Orange Heights Street and the removal of the rail line between Commerce Street and Adams Avenue.

The new connections would result in the retirement of about 1.7 miles of the Harlingen Subdivision between U.S. 77 Sunshine Strip and Jefferson Avenue, closing seven crossings and reducing congestion, improving rail movements and safety along active rail. The Cameron County Regional Regional Mobility Authority only had to provide a 20% match to obtain the federal funds in this competitive grant program.

Photo credit: Union Pacific