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Federal FASTLANE Grants Announced

Thursday, August 10, 2017

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A number of bridge replacements, rail projects and port enhancements around the country will be getting a boost from the U.S. Department of Transportation courtesy of its FASTLANE grants program, now also known as Infrastructure for Rebuilding America, or INFRA.

Originally called Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies, the grant program was developed to fund critical freight and highway projects across the country. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao last week submitted ten small projects chosen for grants to several congressional committees; the grants wil be disbursed after 60 days, assuming Congress does not raise objections.

In 2016, the program's first year, FASTLANE was authorized for $800 million in federal grants; in fiscal year 2017, the total was bumped up to $850 million.

Bridge Grants Awarded

To be awarded $7,890,000, the Maine Department of Transportation's Maine Railroad Bridge Capacity Project will repair and upgrade 22 bridges on the Madawaska Subdivision, which is part of the state-owned railway, located in the northeastern part of the state. Of the repairs to be made, 14 bridges will require minor repairs, three will require the replacement of superstructure elements and one bridge is to be replaced completely. These repairs will be made to accommodate the growth of carload traffic—which has averaged an increase of 15 percent per year since 2011—along with expanding on regional shipping capacity.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation, which will be awarded $5,000,000, aims to replace the Rogers’ Rangers Bridge, which spans the Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont, carrying U.S. Route 2. The bridge is now in poor condition, with restricted vertical clearance that inhibits the passage of logging trucks. Currently, the bridge carries 3,500 vehicles daily. Bridge replacement will allow for increased mobility for all forms of traffic.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation, which will be awarded $5,000,000, aims to replace the Rogers’ Rangers Bridge, which spans the Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont, carrying U.S. Route 2.

To assist with repairs the Presidio-Ojinaga International Rail Bridge, and the rehabilitation of 72 miles of the state-owned South Orient Railroad, the Texas Department of Transportation will receive $7,000,000. The rehabilitation work is to include the replacement of 15,000 cross ties, repairs for 38 bridges and the reconstruction of 37 grade crossings. This work is part of a plan to upgrade SORR to FA Class II status, which will allow the bearing of 286,000,000 pounds and service of up 25 miles per hour. The restoration of the Presidio-Ojinaga rail crossing will also assist in developing local economic benefits.

Port/Dock Grants

In order to increase the cargo-handling capacity for the Ports of Indiana, that state department will receive $9,850,000 in funding. The upgrades will include a new 2.3-acre bulk berth facility, a truck-barge-truck conveyor system, a new westside rail yard along with a new rail connection. There will also be dockside improvements and construction of a truck marshaling yard. These improvements will enable the Lake Michigan port to handle 4.5 million tons of cargo every year (increased from a previous 3 million tons), and double the port’s waterborne bulk freight from 1.5 million tons to 3 million tons by 2020.

As part of the Lake Michigan Crossing Dock Facility Improvements project, the city of Ludington, in Michigan, will be awarded $5,000,000 to update 70-year-old docking facilities in both Ludington and Manitowoc. The Ludington work will include the installation of a 260-foot timber fender wall system, along with renovation of existing mooring wall dolphins. In Manitowoc, a 420-foot timber fender system will be installed, as well as a sheet pile dock wall. These repairs are part of the essential services provided by the S.S. Badger.

Railroad Grants

Acting in partnership with the Washington Department of Transportation, the Port of Moses Lake will be granted $9,900,000 to assist in the completion of the Northern Columbia Basin Railroad Project. The project aims to both create new and replace aging rail infrastructure in order to connect the Port of Moses Lake and the Grant County International Airport with rail access. 

The North Central Mississippi Railway Authority is to receive $7,540,000 to rehabilitate a 90-mile stretch of track. The work will include the repair of several bridges, along with line clean up, reactivation of 18 active warning devices and new tie installation to bring the railway up to FRA Class II standards.

The City of Akron, Ohio, was awarded $5,715,600 to improve the Evans Avenue rail line. Metro RTA is working in part on this endeavor to allow for the accommodation of 10-passenger rail transits, and the project itself will realign a section of Evans Avenue, along with constructing two bridges. / kojjhirano

The Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) grant program was developed to fund critical freight and highway projects across the country.

Florida Competitiveness and Employment by Rail Project

In order to rehabilitate the Georgia & Florida Railway, Taylor County Florida will receive $8,671,513.50 for its Florida Competitiveness and Employment by Rail Project. The work will include upgrades on 19 warning crossings devices, rebuilding 90 public and private grade crossing surfaces, hardening 16 bridges and other work. There will also be resurfacing of 80 miles of railway between Foley, Florida, and Adel, Georgia.

Highway Grant

La Plata County, located in Colorado, was granted $12,312,886.50 to construct a new alignment of U.S. 550, which measures about 1.7 miles. The new alignment will have flatter grades, wider shoulders, a southbound truck climbing lane and automated anti-icing systems.

The DOT is still accepting applications for INFRA grants—as the FASTLANE program will henceforth be known—for large projects for the fiscal year 2017 round of awards, and for both large and small projects for fiscal year 2018. Information on the application process is available here.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Grants; Infrastructure; Rail

Comment from Gregory Stoner, (8/10/2017, 7:50 AM)

This is really just a drop in a bucket regarding the infrastructure needs for our country.

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