Global menu

Our global pages


US FRA Grants: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for Rail Projects

  • USA
  • Governments and Infrastructure
  • Local government
  • Shipping, Ports and Logistics
  • Transport


On 2 June 2022, the US Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced in excess of $368 million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant program (CRISI) funds to 46 rail projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia in a bid to modernise rail infrastructure, fund conventional and high-speed rail, achieve expansion and improvements in passenger rail service, strengthen freight rail and develop a world-class and affordable rail system across rural and urban America. This is one of the largest ever rounds of CRISI grants and benefits from the Biden administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which has nearly tripled funding for this critical rail infrastructure program to $1 billion a year over the next five years.

CRISI has historically funded rail projects in the US that improve rail infrastructure and safety, reduce congestion, increase supply chain resilience and fluidity, relocate rail lines, support short line railroads enhance multi-modal transport connections, conduct rail-related research, improve investment in new technology and safety advancements, benefit rail industry workforce development and training activities.

Since its inception, CRISI has generated significant interest from states, local communities, and rail stakeholders and this year the FRA received in excess of $1.1 billion in CRISI requests, which still far exceeds the available funding notwithstanding the recent injections of additional funding. Eligible projects are required to serve communities by enhancing safety, creating economic opportunities, providing energy efficient transportation options and supporting the US’s freight network to meet growing demand.

Notably in the latest CRISI grants announcements, $87.6 million of the CRISI grants has been allocated to projects that support the development of new intercity passenger rail services and $25.7 million has been dedicated to capital projects or engineering solutions targeting trespassing, exceeding the minimum statutory requirements. Further, a minimum of 25 percent of the CRISI grant funding is required to be awarded to rural projects to address the needs of rural communities. The latest announcement however includes nearly double the required investment in rural communities.

Particularly in the current post COVID-19 recovery phase, CRISI aims to advance intercity passenger and rail freight projects that promote FRA’s key goals of safety, economic growth, transportation equity, and sustainable and resilient infrastructure. The CRISI-funded projects are intended to enhance upgrades, expansions, multi-modal connections, address slow orders, and upgrade antiquated track infrastructure to speed up the movement of goods, in addition to enabling state and local governments and rail carriers to meet renewed travel demand, strengthen supply chains and drive economic regeneration.

There is a full list of FY2021 CRISI grant awards, and set out below are a few examples of projects which are recipients of considerable CRISI grants in the latest announcements:

Raleigh to Richmond Corridor Infrastructure Engineering & Safety Program (up to $57,900,000), North Carolina Department of Transportation

This proposed project will perform surveys and complete preliminary engineering for Raleigh to Richmond (R2R) Corridor Program improvements between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia. Included in this project is the construction of a grade separation on the S-Line in Wake Forest, North Carolina. The project will advance the next phase of the R2R corridor development, which will eventually result in a new intercity passenger rail service on a state-owned route that will access currently underserved and minority rural communities, in addition to improving travel times on the existing Amtrak Silver Meteor service.


Great Lakes Corridor Improvement (up to $21,340,300), Michigan Department of Transportation

This proposed project will rehabilitate track and rail assets operated by the Great Lakes Central Railroad (GLC) just north of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Specifically, the project includes installing 4.25 miles of new rail, eliminating joints on an additional 41.25 mainline track miles, replacing or rehabilitating 11 bridges and culverts, and installing approximately 30,000 ties on mainline and siding track. The project seeks to reduce track defects, derailments, and other maintenance problems associated with rail joints. The project qualifies for the statutorily required set-aside for rural investment.


Port of Baltimore Rail Capacity Modernization Project (up to $15,680,000), Maryland Port Administration

This proposed project will construct four new working tracks and two crane rail beams within the Port of Baltimore's Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore, Maryland. The proposed improvements aim to meet demand in intermodal volumes. The Seagirt Terminal supports multi-modal connections with rail, road, and water to both Norfolk Southern and CSX railroad, which support freight traffic to East Coast and Midwest markets. This intermodal connection will help reduce congestion and speed up the movement of goods.

Eversheds Sutherland’s market leading international rail team advises on a range of rail related contracts using a variety of delivery models across the globe, most notably in North America advising in connection with the RER On Corridor Project in Toronto, California High Speed Rail project, LA Metrolink and Ontario Line PPP.

For more information please contact Agnes Koko, Madeleine Tan and William Spickett.