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Decatur and Franklin Park Rail Safety Projects Awarded New Funds from the Federal Railroad Administration

Press Release - Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Springfield, IL - The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) commends the City of Decatur and Village of Franklin Park for being selected as inaugural recipients of new Railroad Crossing Elimination (RCE) Grant Program funds. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced yesterday that $570 million will go to projects in 32 states to improve rail safety and make it easier for pedestrians and motorists to get around railroad tracks by adding grade separations, closing at-grade crossings, and improving exists at-grade crossings where train tracks and roads intersect.

"Keeping communities safe alongside train tracks has been a longstanding priority for the ICC, and as a long-time Decatur resident, I've seen impact of these rail safety initiatives firsthand," said ICC Commissioner Michael T. Carrigan. "We are proud to see crossing projects in our state win additional federal dollars that will help to reduce the potential for collisions and modernize our existing rail safety infrastructure."

The ICC routinely reviews rail safety improvement projects and administers dollars from the Grade Crossing Protection Fund (GCPF) to consolidate existing public crossings, install or upgrade new warning systems, construct grade separation structures, build pedestrian crossings, and more. Projects for review are selected in the agency's annual five-year Crossing Safety Improvement Program to implement highway-rail safety projects at local roads across the state. This year, over $476 million dollars from the GCPF and Rebuild Illinois were allocated to help communities pay for necessary improvements at over 400 crossing locations.

"Investing in rail safety at the state level keeps our communities safe and positions Illinois as a competitive candidate for these kinds of federal funds," said ICC Railroad Division Supervisor Brain Vercruysse. "The recent RCE awards in Decatur and Franklin Park illustrate how projects can successfully pull together all pieces of the funding puzzle."

The following Illinois projects were selected for the RCE Grant Program's inaugural round of funding:

Brush College Road and Faries Parkway Grade Separation Project, City of Decatur

Award: Up to $16,000,000

The proposed project will improve connectivity by supporting construction activities to upgrade 1.21 miles of Brush College Road in Decatur, Illinois. The project will create a new grade separation structure, permanently close two existing highway-rail grade crossings on Norfolk Southern and Illinois Central Railroad rights-of-way and create pedestrian grade crossings at this location. The City of Decatur, State of Illinois, Illinois Commerce Commission, and Norfolk Southern will contribute funds totaling a 33 percent non-Federal match. Other federal funds consist of $28,600,000 from the Federal Highway Administration and a $2,000,000 Congressional earmark.

Village of Franklin Park Grade Separation Project, Connect Franklin Park: Bridging Barriers and Creating Opportunities

Award: Up to $8,000,000

The project will complete development and final design for a grade separation of Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Kansas City Southern (KCS) tracks through the Village while closing one or more at-grade crossings. The project aims to provide a safer crossing for roadway users and improve supply chain fluidity on both the road and rail network, while also reducing negative impacts of freight movement on nearby communities. The Village of Franklin Park is providing a 20 percent non-Federal match.

The FRA's release detailing project selections can be found here.

The ICC Five-Year Crossing Safety Improvement Program along with the full list of ICC-identified projects can be found here.

About the Illinois Commerce Commission

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is a quasi-judicial body made up of five Commissioners. Through its Public Utility Program, the Commission oversees the provision of adequate, reliable, efficient and safe utility services at the least possible cost to Illinois citizens served by electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water and sewer public utility companies. Through its Transportation Regulatory Program, the Commission oversees public safety and consumer protection programs with regard to intrastate commercial motor carriers of general freight, household goods movers, relocation towers, safety towers, personal property warehouses and repossession agencies. The Commission's Rail Safety Program also inspects and regulates the general safety of railroad tracks, facilities and equipment in the state.

To learn more about the Commission, its offices and bureaus, click here. If you are a consumer who needs help resolving a utility dispute call 800-524-0795 or file an online complaint here. For a complaint related to transportation, call 217-782-6448.

Follow the Illinois Commerce Commission on social media @ILCommerceComm

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