The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will soon begin accepting grant applications for the deployment of positive train control (PTC) collision avoidance systems and complementary advanced technologies under a new $50 million Rail Safety Technology Program, FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo said on Wednesday.
FRA will begin accepting grant applications on April 9, 2010. Eligible applicants include passenger and freight rail carriers, railroad suppliers, and state and local governments. "Safety is our highest priority," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "These grants will help us get the right kinds of technologies out there to prevent train collisions and other accidents." The program requires that the funded PTC projects or related systems be ready for deployment within 24 months of the grant award.
FRA will give preference to collaborative projects sponsored by multiple railroads and public authorities that satisfy one or more specific objectives, particularly interoperability. PTC systems are comprised of several components that control train movements and speed to prevent collisions or derailments. Those seeking funds for PTC under the program must have either received FRA approval of a Technology Implementation Plan and PTC Implementation Plans or successfully demonstrate to FRA that they are currently developing them.
The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) mandates the deployment of interoperable PTC systems by Dec.31, 2015 on mainline tracks that carry passenger trains or Poison Inhalation Hazard /Toxic Inhalation Hazard materials. The new grant program was authorized under RSIA and has an 80/20 cost-sharing requirement.
Applications will be reviewed immediately following the July 1, 2010 filing deadline. Selection announcements will be made on or around Sept. 3, 2010.
A Notice of Funds Availability was published in the March 29th Federal Register, inviting prospective grant recipients to submit applications. More detailed program information and grant applications instructions can be found here under funding opportunity number RS-TEC-10-001.